Segregation at source remains a challenge

Enforcing segregation of solid waste at source continues to remain a challenge for the Greater Chennai Corporation.

Representatives of conservancy workers point to the need for additional workers to manage source segregation initiatives in the city. “We need 100% additional workers to implement source segregation. It has failed in Chennai because of inadequate manpower. We need modern equipment for source segregation to prevent infection to workers,” said a representative.

Owing to the failure to enforce source segregation, the civic body has not been able to achieve the goal of stopping dumping of waste in Perungudi and Kodungaiyur by December 2020.

After CES Onyx started work in March 2000 in areas such as Triplicane, Kodambakkam and Adyar, the civic body initiated source segregation without much success. Similarly, Neel Metal Fanalca started work in August 2007 in Ice House, Kodambakkam, Adyar, and Pulianthope. But the initiative ran out of fizz.

Ramky Enviro Engineers and the Corporation formed a special purpose vehicle, Chennai Municipal Solid Waste Ltd. in January 2012 to remove garbage from Adyar, Kodambakkam and Teynampet. But Ramky could not enforce source segregation.

Urbaser Sumeet, which has been roped for conservancy work, has to do source segregation as part of its fulfilment of its key performance indicators. But the operator is yet to carry out source segregation in Adyar and Teynampet.

Representatives of conservancy workers said Ramky had been asking at least 50% of the conservancy workers in each ward to go home to avoid payment of salary during COVID-19. Many conservancy workers lost their source of livelihood during COVID-19, sources said.

Time frame fixed

Corporation Chief Engineer Mahesan said the new private conservancy operators will get six months to achieve the target of source segregation because of COVID-19 pandemic. “COVID-19 has led to a reduction in source segregation. The amount of garbage recycled has reduced from 700 tonnes to 300 tonnes. We will increase the quantity of waste segregated,” Mr. Mahesan added.

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