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RWAs complain over biomedical waste pile-up, raise health concerns

At least 52 residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) submitted a joint complaint to the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) and the district administration on Sunday over the poor collection of waste from Covid-affected households in their respective areas over the past few weeks and also raised health concerns due to piled up biomedical waste
By Kartik Kumar, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON MAY 10, 2021 11:39 PM IST

At least 52 residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) submitted a joint complaint to the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) and the district administration on Sunday over the poor collection of waste from Covid-affected households in their respective areas over the past few weeks and also raised health concerns due to piled up biomedical waste.

The RWAs, under a collective front called RWAs United, also alerted the MCG and the administration via social media on the matter. They complained that the workers of Ecogreen, the civic body’s agency for door-to-door collection of waste, visit their areas infrequently and when they do visit, collect only 20-30% of the accumulated biomedical waste due to the limited capacity of their vehicles.

Officials of Ecogreen said that they have recently increased the total number of biomedical waste collection vehicles from eight to 12 to handle higher capacities.

“Dedicated Ecogreen vehicles are going to different corners of the city on a daily basis for collecting biomedical waste from Covid-19 houses. They are often making multiple trips to one location. Numbers of Ecogreen supervisors have been shared by the MCG so that residents can reach out to our staff and accordingly waste is being collected from such places on a priority basis,” said Sanjeev Sharma, the official spokesperson for Ecogreen.

In the letter to MCG and administration, the RWAs of Vatika City, Orchid Petals, Tatvam Villas, Princeton Estate, Unitech Harmony, Ridgewood, Central Park 2, Uniworld Garden, Vipul Greens, Omaxe Nile and Malibu Condominium, alleged that their areas were the worst affected.

“Until last month, Ecogreen vehicles were coming to the society twice a week. But over the last four weeks, they came once every 10-15 days and as a result, there was a huge pile of biomedical garbage accumulating inside the society. Even when the vehicles arrived, of the nine 900-litre dustbins reserved for biomedical waste, they were only able to empty three or four dustbins at a go as their vehicles ran out of space,” said Jyoti Ahuja, joint secretary, Vatika City RWA.

Ahuja said that following their complaint, the MCG reached out to them and sent a waste collection truck to clear out the waste on Monday.

However, representatives of RWAs United said on Monday that of the 11 residential areas where the situation of biomedical waste is severe, waste had only been cleared from Vatika City.

“The remaining RWAs are still waiting for Ecogreen vehicles to arrive. The situation of biomedical waste has been severe over the past four to five weeks, Ecogreen vehicles are collecting waste once every seven to 10 days, and when they come they are only able to lift 20-30% of the total biomedical waste load. In the interim, balconies of Covid-19 houses are getting filled with biomedical waste and people are running out of space to store them,” said DIG (retd) of the Indian Coast Guard Siddharth S Sood, president, Harmony Apartment Owners Welfare Association (HOWA).

In residential societies and condominiums, two in-house staff collect biomedical waste from each floor. One person is responsible for collecting it while the other person has to ensure that the area is immediately sanitised. Subsequently, the collected waste is either directly dumped in the Ecogreen vehicles or dropped at a designated area.

In June last year, the MCG had issued a public release stating that to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 and cope with logistical difficulties, Ecogreen vehicles will lift biomedical waste from each of its 35 wards on two fixed days in a week.

On April 21, amid complaints from residents, the MCG issued a public release reiterating that Ecogreen has eight dedicated vehicles for this task, two for each of its four zones. The MCG had also given the mobile numbers of supervisors of these vehicles so that residents could contact them directly.

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