Poor garbage management in Pune turns hellish for Sus road residents
Located close to housing societies such as Green Hills, DSK Vidyanagari and Samruddhi Villa among others, the plant run on BOT (build-operate-transfer) basis by Nobel Company receives hotel waste from all over the city and processes it into a slurry.pune Updated: Jul 19, 2017 11:45 IST
It’s been a living hell for residents of Sus Road with a strong stench of rotting meat and leftover food of hotel waste being processed into a slurry at a Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) garbage processing plant.
Located close to housing societies such as Green Hills, DSK Vidyanagari and Samruddhi Villa among others, the plant run on BOT (build-operate-transfer) basis by Nobel Company receives hotel waste from all over the city and processes it into a slurry. That slurry is filled into tankers and transported to Talegaon where it is processed to produce CNG gas.
Strong odour of rotting waste and gases are released due to the opening of the covers of the garbage trucks.
“This happens every day. In fact, today being a rainy day, the stench is low, but when it is windy, the stench and foul smell affects as high as 14th floor residents of the buildings nearby,” said Vinay Deshpande, resident of Samruddhi Villa, which is diagonally opposite the plant.
Residents of Green Hills, located just before the plant are the worst affected. Almost half of the 44 families have their windows and doors shut tight to keep out the smell and the onslaught of flies and other insects.
“I paid money to live in a beautiful scenic view and ever since this plant opened up in January 2016, we are now living with unhealthy air,” said Uday Gilankar whose flat has an open terrace overlooking the plant.
He has been forced to shut the terrace completely as many predator birds like vultures, hawks and crows use his terrace as their eating place.
Jyoti Umberkar who lives with her son Amit in DSK Vidyanagari, said, “Closing the doors of the terraces just doesn’t help. Even our clothes and utensils now carry this foul smell. The intensity is so high that I suffer from headaches,” she said.
Another resident, Santosh Kulkarni said since the garbage handling work is done manually, it is very slow and some waste is left rotting for more than 48 hours. “We have spoken to the plant manager many times but he says if the plant workers can bear the smell, so can the residents.”
Residents were angry that one person from the factory even remarked that “this is not a chocolate factory and you have to live with the smell.” The manager at the plant refused to comment on the issue during a field visit by a team from Hindustan Times.
Speaking to HT, Pune Municipal Corporation’s Deputy Commissioner (Zone 5), Solid Waste Management, Suresh Jagtap said, “We are taking all precautionary measures to ensure that the stink is reduced. This plant is only for crushing food waste and the slurry is carried over to another place. There is zero discharge and currently it is the rain water that you see flowing. We have built a plant with a 300 ton per day capacity of which we are using only 30 to 35 tons. We have event put up new asbestos sheets to ward off the stench which will naturally be within the plant premises. We also plan to plant trees which absorb this foul smell,” he said.
Residents fear that if the current processing of 30-35 tonnes of food waste daily is causing so much of stench and health hazard, the problem will only worsen when more and more garbage is processed in the plant.
Deshpande pointed out that as per the Central Polllution Control Board, garbage processing plants have to be located at least five kilometers outside city limits. This plant was violating that rule, he charged while pointing out that the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was located in the backyard.