DESPITE Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) having a separate waste pick and disposal plan for restaurants, a majority of restaurants continue to dump their waste in the PMC’s garbage bins meant for domestic litter, thus making the job of waste segregators difficult and its disposal problematic. The restaurants also refuse to segregate the wet and dry waste. Although the PMC has a policy and rules in place and imposes fines on restaurants which do not segregate the waste and not dump it in the special pick-up vans for restaurant garbage, the concerned officials turn a blind eye towards violators.
On their part, restaurant owners maintain that the the timings of the pick-up vans are not convenient. They also allege that the PMC staffers and contractors charge exorbitant money over and above the Rs 200 per month fee that they are ideally supposed to pay. Among the most rabid violators of the plan are roadside vendors of snacks, pulao and pav bhaji who dump their wet and dry garbage in the community garbage bins at around midnight.
Prakash Wagh, a restaurant owner in Shivajinagar area, said that although he has no issue in paying for the service, the problem for him is the timing.
“The van comes early in the morning and later in the evening. We don’t have any garbage in the morning as we are just opening. Disposable amount of garbage is accumulated late in the night when we are closing, say at about 11.30 pm. At this time, there’s no van. We can’t store it inside the restaurant to be dropped in the morning pick-up van as it would start rotting and would foul the hotel environment. The evening truck is also not so useful. If the van arrived after 11 pm, then we would have no issue dropping it there,” said Wagh.
As per a sanitary inspector with Ghole Road ward office of PMC, dumping unsegregated restaurant waste in garbage bins creates a lot of problems for its disposal. “The garbage bins are for dry garbage which is then taken to processing plants where it’s crushed. Mixed waste hampers working of the crushers. Manual segregation by waste pickers becomes painful and troublesome. Also, we lose out on useful wet organic garbage which can be used for biogas generation,” said the sanitary inspector. He said that presently the three pick-up vans collect 20 tonnes of wet garbage from the restaurants in Ghole Road jurisdiction everyday.
The officer said that the PMC imposed fines on restaurants violating the rules in the range of Rs 1000 to Rs 10,000 depending on the nature of violation, with repeat offenders attracting higher fines than first timers. When asked about the number of instances of fine imposition, the official said he didn’t have the number and that there were only a few instances.
Officer in PMC solid waste management department said the civic body’s service of collecting waste at the doorstep of restaurants was started to bring a check on its dumping in the waste bin which resulted in stray dogs creating nuisance. “It has been found that many eating joints still dump waste in the civic bins across the city. This is done late at night after they shut their business for the day. The PMC cannot keep a check on them if it happens at night, but some found in the morning are penalised,” he added.
The demand of restaurants to provide the waste collection service of the PMC at night is not possible as the system is in place wherein the waste collected is taken to the processing plant, the officer said. “Most restaurants are comfortable giving their waste to PMC collection system in the morning and only few create problem,” he said, adding that the PMC cannot change the time of collection for the sake of few as the garbage vehicle has to collect waste of the entire area allotted and not of selected eating joints.