TAMIL NADU

Coimbatore Corporation needs separate wing for waste management

Special Correspondent

At present, garbage comes under the health departmentBut, the trucks and equipment to remove it are under the engineering section

COIMBATORE: The Coimbatore Corporation's Solid Waste Management scheme is cruising towards implementation under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission of the Central Government. But, a study of the situation in the city has come out with an observation that the Corporation will need a separate wing for waste management.

At present, garbage comes under the health department. But, the trucks and equipment to remove it are under the engineering section. The City Health Officer is in charge of sanitation and this includes garbage.

Wilbur Smith Associates, consultants for the Corporation on the scheme, say after a survey that the Corporation requires an exclusive wing for waste management given the amount of garbage generated.

The wing should have an Executive Engineer, two Assistant Executive Engineers, four Assistant Engineers and Sanitary Officers, 24 Sanitary Inspectors and 72 Sanitary Supervisors. The Corporation needs 2,631 conservancy workers for all the 72 wards spread over a city area of 105.6 sq.km. and 137 drivers to transport garbage from various points to the disposal site.

The workers have to cover 2,664 streets/roads of a total length of 686.5 km. The 11-lakh population (according to 2001 census) is expected to be 16.44 lakh in 2031. The Municipal Solid Waste (Maintenance and Handling) Rules, 2000, say that it is the people's responsibility not to litter public places with garbage and it is the task of the administration to guide the people on creating a clean city. Guru Tendulkar, an expert in landfill from Pune, said Coimbatore was blessed with a huge compost yard. On the problems such as fire , foul smell, flies and ground water contamination at the Vellalore yard, he said these were caused by open dumping and the absence of a soil cover for the garbage.

The four sewage lagoons at the yard were not properly lined to prevent ground water contamination. The water table was only around five ft below ground level. A landfill site here should be at least 7.5 ft above the water table. One option was to pump water out and this involved a huge cost. The easier method was raising the ground level of the landfill site. The landfill project, to dispose of waste that could not be converted into manure, would be carried out in four phases spread over four years.

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