Even as the civic body maintains that source segregation is the key to cut down waste sent to landfills, residents say they have to dump garbage into bins in the absence of proper system.
Of the total 5,000 tonnes of garbage collected in the city every day, around 50 per cent of garbage is biodegradable wet waste, which could be composted and converted into organic manure. But only 600 tonnes of garbage is being effectively recycled by the civic body.
“Presently, we are composting around 400 tonnes of wet waste every day and recycling 200 tonnes of dry waste. We are trying to create awareness among the public about the source segregation and this would only fructify in the longer run,” a Chennai Corporation higher official said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in its recent report, pointed out that only 21 per cent households in Chennai are doing source segregation. The city has a total of 16,71,277 households and only 3,53,141 are doing waste segregation.
According to the report, Ambattur zone has 95,226 households, which is highest among the 15 zones, segregating their waste. However, there are 1,65,346 households in Ambattur. Of the total 66,133 households in Alandur, only 5,044 are segregating their waste.
In a recent development to the civic body’s effort to ensure source segregation, Manali zone had been declared bin-free. As many as 251 compactor bins were removed from the streets and operation of garbage lorries was also stopped. It is learnt that the civic body had started implementing the bin-free initiative in 2015 and it took four years to complete.
When asked, Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash said the process was a long one. “We are also removing bins in Perungudi, Tiruvottiyur and Madhavaram zones,” he added.
However, residents in several parts of the city are still dumping their garbage in bins without segregating dry and wet waste. “We are aware of source segregation and its importance. But we have no other option but dump them in the bins. Conservancy workers doing door-to-door collection comes after we leave for work. Also, we cannot leave the garbage at the gate due to street dogs,” M Vishnupriya, a resident of Choolaimedu said.
Explaining the measures taken by the civic body to cut down garbage sent to landfills, N Mahesan, chief engineer (solid waste management) said that the civic body is encouraging bulk waste generators to compost their waste within their premises. “There are around 7,000 bulk waste generators in the city and only 400 of them are composting. We are also planning to set up bio-CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) plants in three or four locations in the city, each with 50 to 100 tonnes capacity,” he added.
The civic body has also taken steps to empanel service providers to assist residents in composting and recycling of waste.