Abdulla Khan | NT
The lack of system for garbage segregation at source and required machinery to treat garbage is hampering the garbage management in Valpoi.
Accumulated waste at the treatment plant at Sayyadnagar is causing immense inconvenience to the locals due to foul smell being emanated from the garbage mounds.
While most citizens blame civic authorities for the failure in ensuring proper infrastructure to treat the collected wet garbage, and, anticipating more problems in the future, they are demanding upgradation of the plant.
A visit to the site revealed tonnes of segregated waste lying outside the plant shed, and it has become a health hazard.
When the reporter enquired, it was informed that the treatment plant lacks a screening machine and, hence, garbage has piled up at the site.
While the locals complained that fould smell emanating from garbage has become a nuisance, workers engaged in the segregation of waste said that due to lack of timely steps, the dumped wet garbage starts giving out foul smell mostly in the evening.
They further stated that they have been instructed to separate waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable and do that to the best of their ability.
“We make sure to place milk packets, paper and cardboard boxes in separate bins. But when they come mixed with wet waste from the kitchen, it all turns messy and we have a tough time in segregating it,” they said annoyingly.
The biodegradable content in the unsegregated waste leads to higher moisture content. And, the presence of wet waste at the dumpsites generates leachate, which releases harmful gases including methane, if not treated on time.
The dump yard handles anywhere between 2 to 4 tonne of garbage on a daily basis.
According to the workers, 4 tonne of garbage is collected on a daily basis, and includes dry waste, as well as organic waste to the extent of nearly 60 per cent. The Valpoi Municipality stated that it is ensuring that practice of segregation of garbage at source is maintained in accordance with solid waste management rules, 2016, which mandate the segregation of garbage into biodegradable waste, dry waste and domestic hazardous waste (which includes diapers, sanitary napkins etc) before handing it over to the collection workers.
Reshma Shaikh, a resident, is well aware of the concept but admits that she hands over domestic garbage in plastic bags every morning.
When asked about the usage of plastic bags, she said, “How else? Also, I was under the impression that the municipality workers do the segregation before it is transported to the landfill site.”
Her belief, one that is shared by many, is not completely untrue. Civic workers sort through the garbage but when mixed waste is secured tightly in polythene bags and dumped, their job becomes all the more difficult. Fehmida Khan, nodal officer of garbage management cell of an aided school, expressed apprehension that the situation in future may worsen in absence of a proper facility to treat the garbage.
“If milk packets, plastic bottles and sanitary napkins are kept separately from wet waste, workers can segregate them. Imagine a plastic bag filled with wet kitchen waste, empty milk packets and sanitary pads; do you think it is possible for the workers to sort it patiently,” asked Khan, and added that citizens need to have some civic sense.
Meanwhile, many residents said that the VMC should strictly adhere to rules and create awareness on segregation in each ward.
When contacted, ward 7 councillor Sayyad Sarfaraz, who was raising the issue of garbage management at the treatment plant, said that the garbage is increasing drastically every year, and every day the VMC collects 3.5 tonne of waste including dry and wet one.
“We need a hybrid treatment plant. Also, it is the duty of all the council members, including the chairperson to create awareness on waste segregation,” Sayyad said.
He further said that the land acquired for the garbage plant is right at the entrance of the village, and feared that if the government continues to neglect and fails to monitor the project, then they would witness a Sonsoddo-like situation in Valpoi.
Many residents in Sayyadnagar told this daily that many unknown persons dump chicken waste there thereby inviting stray animals including wild boars to feast upon it.
“The premises is not having a compound wall, and without any worker deployed there, for keeping round-the-clock watch, miscreants dump chicken waste which invites stray dogs and wild boars from the vicinity,” said a resident Aisha Shaikh.