Sunday, November 11, 2007

Waste Management


Waste segregation at source yet to catch on

The Coimbatore Corporation is racing against time to implement a solid waste management scheme. But segregation of waste at source (the point of generation such as homes, shops, hospitals, hotels and offices) is yet to gain ground.

While the public are not receptive to the need to store biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste in separate bins, a section of the workers too are equally at fault.There are areas where the residents comply with pollution control norms and keep biodegradable waste in green bins and the non-biodegradable in red ones. But, when they hand these over to the conservancy workers, the entire garbage is dumped into one container.

A source in the Corporation says it is in the process of evolving into one that will eliminate problems in segregation. He points out that at present segregated waste collected from the doorstep is mixed in the truck that carries it to the compost yard.

The fringes of the city also witness a similar problem. Here too workers remove segregated waste, but mix them in the bins on the pushcart. Residents suffer a verbal assault from workers, including self-help group members, when the mixing of garbage is objected to. Argument with the workers reveals that many of them had not been sensitised adequately on the need for segregation. The Corporation source says the ban on bullock carts has turned garbage collection in narrow lanes difficult. There are not enough workers to take pushcarts to these areas. That leaves the conservancy staff covering many areas with the only choice of mixing the garbage.

A sanitary inspector of the Corporation laments the lack of cooperation from the public. Segregation can be sustained only if a proper disposal system is established - either waste to manure or to power. A mechanical segregator and loader is being tried out in Ward 22. It has separate containers for both types of waste. Placed on small platforms, the waste is automatically loaded into the respective bins. The Corporation plans to buy more such equipment. If people adopt segregation, there is no need for sanitary workers, he says.

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