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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Year when garbage raised a stink and villagers bore the brunt

An inadequate garbage disposal system has for long been the bane of the city.

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune | Published: December 23, 2009 5:59:34 am

An inadequate garbage disposal system has for long been the bane of the city. After years of dilly-dallying over the dumping site,the issue took centre-stage in 2009 when the residents of Uruli Devachi and Phursungi blocked garbage dumping vehicles of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) from entering their villages. Promises,that the new sites would be identified,soon followed — only to be breached. The solution of a new open dumping system with garbage treatment is too long to materialise and the villagers are saying they won’t take in any more of the city’s waste.

In May,the civic administration was forced to set a December 15 deadline for shifting out the open garbage dumping from Uruli Devachi. However,the civic administration could not deliver on its promise and after seven months the villagers were once again up in arms. Last week,the PMC sought a grace period of another five months to fulfill the demands of the garbage-hit villagers.

The PMC has set a target of achieving 90 per cent garbage processing by end of 2010,as against 25 per cent work completed till date. “The plan is to go in for 100 per cent garbage processing,thus putting a complete stop to open dumping. This time we are optimistic of at least achieving 90 per cent completion of garbage processing by December next year,” said Suresh Jagtap,deputy municipal commissioner.

The city generates 1,300 tonnes of garbage every day and with each passing year there is a five per cent rise due to the growing population. Against this,the civic body has been able to process only 350 tonnes.

“There are two processing plants of 500 tonnes each,but only one is operational,that too not at full capacity. All glitches have been ironed out for making the second processing plant operational by March. This means we will be in a position to process 1,000 tonnes of the city’s garbage each day,” he said.

Deputy sarpanch of Phursungi village Sanjay Harpale said the civic administration had failed to keep its word. “Some progress was made in stopping the open dumping of garbage at the landfill site and simultaneously development work has got under way. The villagers are in no mood to allow the PMC to continue with dumping. A legal assurance from the civic body will be the only way the PMC can get more time,” he said. A written assurance by the PMC to the villagers is expected by December 31.

Meanwhile,the civic body is looking for a new site to set up a new processing plant. “There will be no open dumping of garbage now. The new sites being identified would only have garbage processing units,” Jagtap said.

The PMC has also initiated the process to introduce biogas plants in all 14 wards in the city that can convert 5 tonnes of garbage a day into energy. Two such plants are already operational while another five will start soon. As per the Central government guidelines,the PMC is planning a separate department to handle solid waste.

On the other hand,in September 2008,there was a blast at the city’s lone bio-medical waste treatment plant — Kailash crematorium — that killed seven people and led to its closure after the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) blew the whistle. Till this September,the city’s bio-medical waste was sent to Thane and Satara. The PMC cancelled its contract with Sun Enviro Management Private Ltd that ran the disposal plant earlier and brought in its place Passco Environment Solutions to restart the facility that now collects the waste from 700 hospitals and 1,200 clinics in the city each day.

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