Puducherry takes baby steps to scientific waste disposal

For a clean city: The district administration has asked the Swachhatha Corporation to place colour-coded waste bins in several locations and also segregate the waste before transporting it to the dump.

For a clean city: The district administration has asked the Swachhatha Corporation to place colour-coded waste bins in several locations and also segregate the waste before transporting it to the dump.   | Photo Credit: S_S_KUMAR

Citizens want the authorities to launch an awareness campaign first

Citizens of Puducherry, who welcomed the district administration’s decision to introduce segregation of waste at source, want the government to create better awareness on the issue.

District Collector T. Arun on October 19 directed the Swachhatha Corporation, which is entrusted with the task of solid waste management, to immediately start segregated waste collection by placing colour-coded bins in residential and commercial areas.

The Collector, in his order, said as per the concession agreement entered into by the government with the corporation in 2015, the latter was bound to transport biodegradable and recyclable waste separately to the dump yard. The agency, which had not complied with this clause, now has to introduce the new system from November 1.

“It is a late decision but a welcome one. Keeping bins alone will not yield any result as most people are not aware of the programme. Also, it is doubtful whether people know how to segregate waste at source,” said a retired employee of the Local Administration Department. He said the agreement had provisions making it mandatory for the agency to create awareness programme.

T.P. Ragunath of Sri Aurobindo Society concurred with the view. “I think it will not be possible for the corporation to implement it even if it earnestly decides to do source segregation by putting coloured bins. First of all, there needs to be awareness among the residents to do source segregation as well as putting up coloured bins,” he said.

There were several issues to be addressed for the new system to succeed.

“The process has to start from the end (building the waste processing centre), then compost biodegradable component and further segregate non-biodegradable part so that it can be recycled. The norm should be to ensure door-to-door collection of segregated waste,” said Probir Banerjee of PondyCan.

Residents’ associations should be roped in to ensure every household segregates waste at source. Those who do not comply with this rule should be penalised, said Mr. Ragunath.

He said the civic bodies should ask restaurants to set up in-house compost yards so that their waste did not become an additional burden.

Welcome step

According to S. Ratheesh, a resident of Venkata Nagar, keeping coloured bins was a welcome step. But the agency should ensure that the bins were intact and did not fall while stray animals foraged the containers for food.

“If you see, in most localities the containers kept by the corporation is grounded and waste strewn all across. They should ensure that bins were not knocked down and the garbage scattered on the streets by stray animals,” he said, Mr. Banerjee wanted the Local Administration Department to decentralise garbage management rather than centralising it.

He said steps should be taken to decentralise collection and disposal.

“Once the present dump is full, it will be impossible to find another site as there will be resistance. So, some urgent steps should be taken to scientifically dispose the waste,” Mr Banerjee said.

The Collector told The Hindu that as per rule 4 and 15 of the Solid Waste Management Rules, only segregated waste should be transported to the site. “We cannot wait endlessly. It will take time for behavioural changes to happen. The agency is being given clear instructions to start collecting segregated garbage and create awareness programme. Then we will slowly move towards door-to-door waste collection,” Mr. Arun said.

The National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi, had directed all States and Union Territories to comply with the provisions of Solid Waste Management Rules. “And it becomes obligatory on the district administration to ensure segregation and transportation of solid waste,” the Collector added.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:31:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/puducherry-takes-baby-steps-to-scientific-waste-disposal/article29790604.ece

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