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Poor waste management affecting soil, water quality in Lucknow

Places where filth is accumulated for a long time more vulnerable to degradation, say studies

lucknow Updated: Apr 17, 2017 13:13 IST
Anupam Srivastava
A garbage dump behind Bada Imambada. Waste material, especially plastic, is causing irreparable damage to the environment.
A garbage dump behind Bada Imambada. Waste material, especially plastic, is causing irreparable damage to the environment.(Deepak Gupta/ HT Photo)

Unscientific dumping of garbage has started affecting the quality of soil and water in the state capital. Places where filth is accumulated for a long time are more vulnerable to degradation, suggest studies by various institutes.

But the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) has failed to address the issue. No wonder 60% of the complaints received by the corporation are regarding poor sanitation in their areas.

LMC has around 110 elected corporators and they are the ones who agree that poor sanitation is the biggest problem faced by them. They receive 50% of calls for getting streets clean or drains cleaned.

Waste material, especially plastic, is causing irreparable damage to the environment due to mismanagement and this is a matter of serious concern, says Virendra Singh Yadav, former deputy director, Geological survey of India and environmentalist.

He said due to non-segregation of waste at source, the landfill sites are mostly filled with plastic waste due to poor littering habits of Lucknowites. “We all know non-biodegradability of plastic waste, which persists for years together. It has the potential to create complexities not only on land but inside layers of water too, he said,

PLASTIC WASTE A BIG THREAT
  • Virendra Singh Yadav, former deputy director, Geological survey of India and environmentalist said due to non-segregation of waste at source, the landfill sites are mostly filled with plastic waste due to poor littering habits of Lucknowites.
  • “We all know non-biodegradability of plastic waste, which persists for years together. It has the potential to create complexities not only on land but inside layers of water too,” said Sayyed Yawar Hussain Reshu, corporator, Samajwadi Party.
  • “Despite collection of monthly service charges for door-to-door collection of waste, the LMC has not provided residents the baskets which they require to segregate waste. They also did not bother to start any awareness programmes to make people aware about the segregating waste at source,” said.

Study by IITR

Too put it on record and study the dangers of waste in the state capital, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) sponsored a study with Indian Institute of Toxicological Research (IITR), Lucknow on ‘Impact of Plastic Waste Disposal on Soil and Water Quality at Lucknow Dumpsites’, he said.

The research was done to study the impact of non-degradable waste such as plastics and polythenes on soil and water quality near disposal sites like Dudauli and Ghaila on Hardoi road.

It was worrisome to know that heavy metals, chloride, phthalates etc, had seeped into the soil from the waste in the surroundings.

Read more: Insanitation – age-old woe of old Lucknow

No attention paid to report

This study was conducted in 2014, but till 2017 no one talked about the hazards indicated by the report.

At many places in the city where dump yards and garbage transfer stations are made, no care has been taken to prevent leachate seeping into the soil. All these places where the garbage is stored, even temporarily, have the potential to pollute soil and water.

At present, LMC has 29 garbage depots for temporary storage of municipal solid waste (MSW), which is scattered throughout the city. The depots are an open space enclosed on the sides with a masonry wall of about 3.5 to 4.35 m height. Those located in congested areas or narrow winding streets are more problematic. But the bad part of these depots is that the waste is scattered toward the road. Overflowing waste from these dumpyards has been seen at places like Lalkuan, Hewett Road, Chowk and Thakurganj. The problem worsens during monsoon when garbage stinks more rain.

“According to a study last year, Lucknow generates approximately 1,500 mt of solid waste daily. Plastics, glass, metals, and paper account for around 15% of the total waste, which means Lucknow generates around 200 metric tonnes of plastic waste daily, and LMC is doing nothing to manage this waste,” said Sayyed Yawar Hussain Reshu, corporator, Samajwadi Party and leader of opposition in LMC house, said, “In households, solid waste is stored in open baskets and available cans which do not meet hygienic standards. Ideally, it’s the duty of LMC to provide residents two different colour baskets for storing biodegradable (organic) and (inorganic) non-biodegradable wastes. The organic fraction comprises kitchen waste, including food leftovers, rotten fruits, vegetables, leaves, crop residue,” he added.

“Despite collection of monthly service charges for door-to-door collection of waste, the LMC has not provided residents the baskets which they require to segregate waste. They also did not bother to start any awareness programmes to make people aware about the segregating waste at source,” he said.

Corporator of from Sardar Patel ward Girish Mishra (Congress) said, “Solid waste management has not been done in a planned way. The idea must be to collect garbage from houses and take it directly to landfill site without spilling it over on the roads of the city.”

Read more: LMC turns village into garbage landfill; NGT takes note after villagers choke