Andhra Pradesh

Giri Pradakshina: devotees generate mountain of waste

Roads littered with plastic satchets and paper cups during the Giri Pradakshina, in Visakhapatnam.

Roads littered with plastic satchets and paper cups during the Giri Pradakshina, in Visakhapatnam.  

GVMC workers clear over 5 tonnes of plastic sachets from roads within 24 hours

Bangaramma and her crew of sanitary workers worked silently round the clock cleaning reams of waste strewn on the roads by lakhs of devotees circling the Simhachalam hill during their ‘Giri Pradakshina’ on Monday.

Ms. Bangaramma (45) said she and her team finally got some time to rest under the shade of a tree at around 10 a.m. on Tuesday. They were working non-stop for over 18 hours, beginning Monday afternoon.

Around 1,100 workers were pressed into service by the GVMC to clean up the huge trail of water sachets and food packets strewn on the roads by devotees who undertook the 32-km Giri Pradakshina from Monday afternoon till the early hours of Tuesday, oblivious to the damage they were causing in their wake.

“There was a mad rush at night rather than in the evening. There was no time for us to even catch our breath. We were constantly picking up waste and dumping it in bins but we were unable to keep up with the pace,” Ms. Bangaramma said.

Thousands upon thousands of polystyrene food plates, water and buttermilk sachets, and biscuit packet wrappers flooded the roads apart from mounds of food wastes. “The food wastes required special care, as we had to sprinkle anti-bacterial powder to prevent bad odour,” she said.

“Even though dust bins were placed at almost all places, very few of them were used by devotees. We carried small dust bins in our hands and collected wastes. It took just minutes for the street dust bins to fill up and we made sure that they were also cleared by the waste-lifting vehicles from time to time,” said Shakuntala, another sanitary worker.

Herculean task

It was a herculean task for the sanitary staff as over five tonnes of garbage was generated in the span of 24 hours on the city roads due to the Giri Pradakshina.

“We had engaged around 1,100 sanitary workers to clear the dump. By the morning, 70% of garbage was cleared and by afternoon, almost the entire garbage was lifted off the roads,” said Hemanth Kumar, Chief Medical & Health Officer, GVMC.

Mr. Hemanth Kumar said that compared to last year, the rush was much higher during the night.

According to a few sanitary workers, a few areas in Madhavadhara and Gopalapatnam witnessed severe traffic congestions due to heavy crowds in the night. It was a tough task to pick up waste lying on the road at that time, they said.

Drains clogged

Despite the appeals to the public, plastic sachets were dumped in drains which led to clogging at several places.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 1:38:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/giri-pradakshina-devotees-generate-mountain-of-waste/article28494273.ece

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