Solid waste management: burning issue that demands attention

eyesore:A view of the compost yard of Thanjavur municipality.Photo: B.Velankanni Raj

eyesore:A view of the compost yard of Thanjavur municipality.Photo: B.Velankanni Raj  

Fire that broke out at the compost yard of the municipality at Sekkadi Jebamalaipuram near Srinivasapuram here on Sunday night brings into focus the need for improving solid waste management in the town.

Every day, about 110 tonnes of garbage are dumped at the compost yard. But they are not segregated into biodegradable and non-degradable waste.

This has to be addressed as segregation will improve waste management.

Improvement works to the tune of Rs.1 crore were taken up in the yard which included laying of concrete roads inside the yard for easy movement of vehicles, provision of water and toilet facilities, drainage facilities and recycle platforms.

These facilities should be maintained properly. There was a plan to produce vermicompost using vegetable and bio-wastes. It should be given effect to. While these can be tried at the yard level, which is located on a sprawling 20.1 acres of land, source segregation of waste and regularly clearing of garbage might improve the situation, environment and public health experts opine.

Thanjavur municipality has now banned plastics below 40 microns from use. Savithiri Gopal, municipal chairperson, said that officials have seized plastic bags and cups made of plastics . "We have laid roads for a distance of 1600 metres using plastics ,” she said.

Though municipality is at it, it might take some time to ban plastics below 40 microns completely. "When plastic is eradicated from the scene, major problem will be solved," say people living around the yard. .

N.Ramachandran, Vice-Chancellor, Periyar Maniammai University, and chairman of Clean Thanjavur Movement, said that the municipality should fully support the movement for effective solid waste management in the town.

"An integrated approach is needed and members of women self-help groups can be involved in a major way in solid waste management.

Disposal of wastes by recycling, preparing vermicompost, and using them to generate electricity should be tried at the compost yard instead of just dumping the waste there. That is the only way to prevent recurrence of such accidents in future," Mr.Ramachandran said.

"There was a proposal to create a green belt at the compost yard by planting trees. Only way to improve solid waste management is to convert the compost yard into a beautiful environment-friendly place by resorting to disposal of wastes and using them for growing plants, generating electricity, and recycling," people said.

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