HT Clean My Chandigarh Campaign | The tragic waste site story
The MC is grappling with garbage collection and disposal due to shortage of both manpower and equipment. The lone waste processing plant has been running on a limb for years now, with the garbage literally getting dumped. HT gives you a 360 degree view of the issue — from the causes and the effects to the possible solutions.punjab Updated: Jun 05, 2017 11:09 IST
Chandigarh may have the reputation of being a clean and green city, but its garbage collection system has been raising quite a stink for several years now. Its dismal state was also reflected in the Swachh Survekshan Survey 2017 in which the city slipped from second position last year to 11th in terms of cleanliness. In the sub-category (solid waste collection and transportation), the city scored 348 marks out of 400, while Imphal, notorious for its heaps of garbage, scored the highest 360 marks.
The UT MC is grappling with garbage collection and disposal due to shortage of both manpower and equipment as well as a malfunctioning garbage processing plant. Though the issue has been raised and debated several times in house meeting over the past five years, garbage continues to be dumped along roads and streets.
IN A DUMP
The city, which generates 450 tonnes of garbage a day, has only one garbage processing plant, which too isn’t working to its optimal capacity. In the last two months, the Jaypee plant has processed only 700 tonnes of the 3,400 tonnes of garbage it received. The rest 2,700 tonnes of waste was thrown in the nearby dump, much to the chagrin of residents living in surrounding areas.
Although 450 tonnes of garbage is not much, the MC fails to lift it all, exposing its inefficient garbage collection system. Despite being aware of the situation the civic body has failed to find any solution. The MC joint commissioner, Manoj Khatri, admits that they are simply throwing garbage in the dump, resulting in fires . “We raised the issue before the National Green Tribunal, following which it directed the plant to accept all garbage or face action, but to no avail,” he said.
STENCH AND DISEASE
Councillor Rajesh Kalia, who is a resident of Dadumajra, rages at the MC for sitting pretty on the matter. “It is shameful that the MC it is not taking any action against the plant authorities. I will send a representation to MC officials and if no action is taken we will hold a massive protest,” he fumed.
Narinder Chaudhary, president of Dalit Chetna Manch, Dadumajra, says he fails to understand how MC can be so insensitive towards the area. “The plant workers throw 100 tonnes of garbage in the dump every day without processing it. Residents of our area complain of stink and are suffering from skin diseases, but nothing is being done.” In 2012, the MC had started a pilot project of door-to-door garbage collection in Sector 22, following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana HC, but it was scrapped on May 7 after a protest by the private garbage collectors.
Even though officers of UT administration make a strong pitch for bridging the north-south divide in Chandigarh, the northern sectors in the city continue to be ‘privileged’ as far as sanitation is concerned. A look at the complaints received by the MC helpline number ‘155304’, in the past one year (January 1, 2016 to May 27, 2017) reveals that 90% of the complaints about sanitation come from south of the Madhya Marg.
FROM FINE TO BINS, MC TALKS ACTION
Smarting at its poor ranking in the Swachh Survekshan Survey 2017, the MC has given the green signal to a series of steps to make the city cleaner. For one, it has decided to enforce garbage segregation at source by distributing 2.5 lakh bins with a capacity of 12 litres each free of cost to all the residents of the city, starting from World Environment Day on June 5.
The bins will be of two colours, blue and green. While green bins are meant for green waste i.e. biodegradable garbage, the blue ones are for non-biodegradable waste. One lakh bins will be distributed on June 5, and the remaining 1.5 lakh bins by June 15.
Recovery charges for littering: For the first time, the MC has decided to impose recovery charges of Rs 5,000 on residential and Rs 10,000 on commercial establishments for littering garbage in the city.
MC commissioner B Purushartha said, “These fines will be included in sanitation bylaws and will be approved in the next meeting of MC house after which we will start implementation.” The amount will not be considered as fine but will be termed as ‘recovery charge’ for the additional labour and machinery required to clear the garbage. Rag-pickers for segregation: Taking a cue from the Pune and Mumbai Municipal Corporation, the councillors have decided to involve ragpickers to segregate the garbage.
It also proposes to have a uniform rate for garbage collection across the city to ensure proper collection and disposal of the waste. As of now, there are people who do not pay for garbage disposal and dump it on the sly.
Part 1 of 7, Tomorrow: The toilet trouble