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Waste Side Story

Recent Swachh Bharat rankings didn’t paint a rosy picture of the Tricity waste management system. Here’s how this system works— and doesn’t work.

Written by Vivek Gupta | Chandigarh | Published: August 17, 2015 2:02 am
Swachh Bharat, chandigarh, Swachh Bharat rankings, , chandigarh Swachh Bharat, Swachh Bharat, Bengaluru Swachh Bharat, Nation news, india news A fuel processing plant in Chandigarh. (Kamleshwar Singh)

THE NOTION that local residents live in ‘City Beautiful’ with ideal civic amenities is in serious doubt because of delays in tackling garbage disposal problem in the city. The garbage site near Dadumajra, city’s peripheral area, is overflowing, but that has not woken up the Municipal Corporation and the local administration.

The city produces close to 400 metric tonnes of garbage every day but over 20 per cent of it ends up being dumped without any scientific processing in its 25-acre dumping site, which is now surrounded by a large population.

Unprocessed garbage consists of waste of the city’s flourishing hotel industry and restaurants besides organic waste generating on a daily basis from its green belts and regular apni mandis. But the administration’s inability to deal with hotel and organic waste has not only resulted in filling up its limited site faster than expected but it has also created an ecological crisis for nearby inhabitants.

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For years now, the issue of alternative land filling has not yet been sorted out. The existing facility, say MC officials, can serve for only two or three years more and may be even less, considering the constant pressure of nearby locality to stop using the present site for dumping purpose due to overgrowing stinking and civic nuisance.

UT Adviser to Administrator Vijay Kumar Dev visited the site last week and was not happy with the way the city’s garbage is handled at the site.

The Chandigarh Administration’s efforts to find an alternative site away from habitation area have not been enough. The garbage site came up 20 years ago but even as the city has expanded, the issue of alternative garbage dumping ground has not yet been settled.

Municipal officer health (MOH) Parminder Bhatti says the problem with Chandigarh is that it is land-locked and since it does not have its own piece of land which is away from habitat, UT is dependent on nearby states.

He says that talks with Punjab are at an advanced stage and deliberations are on for a land-filling site near Derabassi.

He admits that there is a dire need for an alternative site since the current site cannot bear the pressure for more than two-three years.

Residents of Dadumajra are agitated. While criticising the administration’s passive approach to the issue, Narinder Chaudhary, an area resident and also a member of the BJP’s local unit, says that the administration is not bothered to find a solution to this issue because the area is not occupied by the affluent class.
“The garbage site has created a pervasive stench and is also responsible for several health problems and poor sanitation conditions but no one is bothered,” he says.

According to him, the garbage has piled up three-storey high. Therefore, there should not be any further delay in handling the issue. He has demanded the UT Health Department to carry out a survey to ascertain the ill-effects of the dumping site.

However, a section of officials in administration say that they should not be blamed for the entire mess. Nearby half a km of area near the dumping site is a buffer zone which shrank fast due to illegal occupation and expansion of Dadumajra.

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