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Garbage piles up as firm backs
out of waste management project

Sanjeev Bhalla, Hindustan Times  Kapurthala, August 15, 2012
First Published: 00:33 IST(15/8/2012) | Last Updated: 01:11 IST(15/8/2012)

With Antony Waste Handling Cell Pvt Ltd backing out of the municipal corporation's ambitious solid waste management project, garbage heaps have started accumulating at several places in the city much to the dismay of residents, who have urged the MC to take steps to rid the city of mounds of garbage.

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The problem has become more intense with the MC "failing" to strictly impose ban on polythene bags, which have been contributing to growing garbage heaps and thermocol plates and glasses that end up on roads, where 'langars' are organised. Sources said even grass that is mowed is often thrown into garbage.

Even the MC's own sanitation staff, alleging non-payment of their dues, play spoilsport by holding strikes every now and then. Mission Aagaaz, an NGO devoted to the cause of environment, in a letter to the MC has offered some suggestions for waste management.

Deepak Babbar, director, Mission Aagaaz, said there is a ban on use of polythene, which "exists on paper only". "Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has been quite vocal on the issue and also issued strict directions to prohibit the use of polythene bags. Hardly anything has been done in this regard. Plastic bags of every shape and size are being thrown in the municipal waste leading to death of animals and blockage of sewer system," he said.

Babbar added that in the recent days a new problem has come up. "People are holding roadside 'langars' all over the city and thermocol plates are littered everywhere. The organisers are not held accountable for the waste thus produced. It is important that residents be aware of their rights. They should also understand their duties and responsibilities in order to create clean environment and hygienic atmosphere," said Gurbhej Singh, general secretary, Mission Aagaaz.

He maintained that it was painful to see that no programme to involve public had been chalked out by the MC to make people aware of their duties ever since it came into existence. Stating that countries nowadays were adopting the 'reduce, reuse, recycle' rule, the NGO office-bearers urged the MC to impose a strict ban on use of plastic bags, undertake door-to-door collection of garbage on fixed days as provided under the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000, and only segregated waste should be picked up.

"There should be roadside bins. Some cities in India are already bin-less cities. There should be fixed days for grass cutting and the grass should be marketed. It will bring down the fodder prices and give additional revenue to the corporation. A meeting should be called inviting representatives of public, trade and industry, educational institutions, hotels and tourism industry, intellectuals from Guru Nanak Dev University and all NGOs and a public awareness campaign of waste management be started," said Babbar.

He added that individuals and establishments should be encouraged to make their areas zero-garbage places and certificates of appreciation be given to those achieving zero-waste zones, while students in schools and colleges should be encouraged to participate in best waste management practices and be briefed about the advantages of a clean city.

"Essay and poster competitions should be regularly organised on these topics," said Gurbhej Singh. Municipal commissioner Dharampal Gupta said efforts were being made to streamline the process of garbage lifting. Stating that he was aware of the chaos created by roadside 'langars', Gupta said the organisers had been time and again implored not to litter the roads and clean up the venue before leaving. "We are doing our best to implement ban on polythene and would try to ensure that the suggestions made by various NGOs in this regard are implemented," he said.

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