Today's Paper

Landfill site not yet acquired

CHENNAI JAN. 3. Though it has been two years since the Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 came into effect, the Chennai Corporation is yet to comply with major guidelines prepared by an expert committee.

A significant deadline for acquiring a landfill site to meet the city demand for the next two decades expired on December 31.

Civic officials have `identified' abandoned quarries at Thiruneermalai. The agency has communicated its choice to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and the Government but the land is yet to be acquired.

The rules were prepared by the committee set up by the Supreme Court, following a public interest litigation petition filed by Almitra H. Patel in 1996, seeking scientific handling of municipal solid waste.

The rules outline compliance criteria and specifications, including door-to-door collection of garbage, storage of waste, safe transportation to landfills and scientific processing.

But for the Corporation, it has been a steady decline in performance, culminating in its advocacy of privatisation of conservancy work in all zones. The inability to implement segregation of waste on a largescale has become all the more glaring, as welfare associations such as Civic Exnoras have been doing the job effectively in small pockets like Akshaya Colony near Mogappair.

Burning of garbage in the open on the Perungudi and Kodungaiyur yards by ragpickers and at Pallikaranai is a major environmental concern.

The State Government role in helping local bodies implement the rules is critical, according to a member of the Supreme Court committee, P.U.Asnani.

``The Karnataka Government has made an allocation of Rs. 100 crores to its local bodies for this purpose. There is also the example of Ahmedabad having already acquired 1,046 acres for its future landfill,'' he said.

The Chennai Corporation is keen on promoting two multicrore `waste-to-energy' plants for processing the waste, but has been dragging its feet on source segregation and composting.

The deadline for putting in place the scientific solid waste management chain is December 31, 2003.

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