A senior Corporation official said that 95 per cent of the households in Manali are following source segregation, resulting in effective disposal of dry and wet waste in the city. Starting this October, the Corporation will be implementing source segregation in all households in Chennai. “Meetings with Residents Welfare Association representatives have been conducted in all zones. Sanitary workers have also been informed. Notices will be issued to each household, informing them on what should be separated as dry and wet waste, asking them to follow source segregation,” said the official.
Another Corporation official said that over the next two weeks, pamphlets will be distributed to all households. “Awareness programmes and source segregation pledge will also be taken in schools and colleges,” added the official. Will there be a penalty levied on households that fail to comply? “Penalty will be enforced but not immediately,” clarified the senior official.
Once source segregation comes into existence, dry waste will be sold and wet waste will be composted. “The challenge is to identify the kinds of dry waste that can be sold, which will depend on the quantity being generated. The informal network of waste pickers will also be involved in the process,” said the senior official.
However, handling the wet waste will pose a major challenge for the civic body, as there are not enough compost yards in the city to breakdown the organic garbage into compost. “A Rs 10 crore proposal has been sent to the government for setting up compost yards across the city, equipped with a few basic machines to dispose the waste. In the interim, the wet waste will go into the dumpyards,” added the official.
Solid waste management has been garnering increasing attention in the city, with small-scale zero-waste neighbourhood initiatives being implemented. Mangalam Balasubramanian, Founder and managing trustee of Exnora Green Pammal, has been working with residents and Corporation in selected wards of Manali, helping them turn into zero-waste wards. She believes that Chennai can turn into a zero-waste metropolis. “There should be continuous training of conservancy workers and residents, who should give only wet waste daily. The dry waste can be collected once a week. There is an urgent need to create decentralised compost areas, to handle the wet waste. The challenge is to ensure more community participation,” said the expert.