Chennai

Tiruvottiyur residents work on a ‘bright’ idea

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In three Divisions of Tiruvottiyur Zone, conservancy staff have been empowered to refuse collecting unsegregated waste. Most of the time, they don’t have to do so

Two women whistle along 3rd Street in Jyothi Nagar, Tiruvottiyur, pushing a tricycle laden with five blue and green bins.

A seven-year-old peers from around a half-open door and calls out to her mother, asking her to take out the trash bins. As the conservancy staff empty the segregated garbage into the respective bio-degredable and recyclable bins, sanitation animator Nathiya S. makes a mark in a long notebook.

For 2,300 households in Division 4 of Zone 1 (Tiruvottiyur), which covers eight localities, segregation of waste at source is almost mandatory. Those who don’t fall in line can expect to see the “sanitation animator” at their doorsteps. The sanitation animator walks along with the conservancy staff from 6.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. as the latter collect waste from households.

Greater Chennai Corporation is yet to make source segregation of waste mandatory, but at Divisions 4, 8 and 11 of Zone 1, a silent movement to reduce the waste going to the landfills is under way.

The conservancy staff have been empowered to say ‘no’ to collecting unsegregated waste.

At Division 11, with the support of Eicher Group, non-governmental organisation Hand-In-Hand is working with around 1,000 households in managing waste. At Division 8, the Corporation handles the work entirely on its own.

Mission Sunehrakal

At Division 4, Mission Sunehrakal is lead by Exnora Green Pammal and ITC, which funds the purchase of equipment and hiring of workers as part of its CSR activity. The main objective of Mission Sunehrakal, which means ‘bright’ in Hindi, is to make Tiruvottiyur zero-waste by August. Another key objective is to get at least 1,000 households to compost their waste, at the end of the year.

Of the 2,300 households, 400 are now engaged in home composting.

“Fifty households use the compost for their garden and the remaining sell it to a Self-Help Group for a small amount,” says M. Raja, project manager of Exnora Green Pammal, adding that the door-to-door collection of waste started in February 2017.

Fifteen conservancy staff and eight sanitation animators are part of Mission Sunehrakal.

There are many challenges in this mission but walking around Jyothi Nagar gives one a sense that residents are willing to put their heart and soul into the initiative.

“Look at the difference door-to-door collection has made in our street; it’s clean,” says R. Rajeshwari, showing us her small backyard where a bubble-top water can, mud pots, an Aavin milk tray and other plastic containers serve as compost pits.

At every house, a Mission Sunehrakal placard hangs on the gate. “We are next working at identifying street committee members who will coordinate with us on a regular basis,” says Raja, adding that ever since the campaign began, eight bins have been removed from the street.

“The plan is to extend the initiative to all the 14 Divisions in Tiruvottiyur,” says Mohammed Badusha, assistant commissioner, Zone I.

According to him, although a fine can be levied on residents who refuse to toe the line, they haven’t started such an exercise. “If we don’t collect the waste for two days, people do fall in line,” he says.

Zone 1, which has 73,000 households, collects 35 tonnes of waste every day. The plan is to bring down the quantum of waste gradually. Compost yards are also being constructed in every Division to facilitate the process.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 2:17:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/tiruvottiyur-residents-work-on-a-bright-idea/article18929484.ece

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