Waste problem piles up in city

In the last 12 years, Chennai has seen three popular mayors and one mayor in-charge belonging to the Dravidian majors. All the four, including DMK leader M.K. Stalin, his trusted confidant Ma.Subramanian, incumbent mayor Saidai S. Duraisamy and former deputy mayor ‘Karate’ Thiagarajan, have one thing in common. The political heavyweights have failed to implement the concept of zero waste management in Greater Chennai.

The ugly truth is that whether it is Singara Chennai or Ezhilmigu Chennai, at least 1 lakh residents suffer suffocation and pungent odour as they reside in the neighbourhoods of stinking Kodungaiyur dumping yard in north Chennai or near the Perungudi yard in south Chennai. And, on Saturday, it was the turn of mayor Duraisamy to inspect the Kodungaiyur dumping yard promising an integrated zero waste centre.

For his part, Mr Duraisamy, who has already completed one-year mayor’s term, spent more than an hour and instructed the officials to improve the interior roads within the dump yard and ensure that the waste does not pile up.

“It is not only political will that was lacking to implement the project, legal hurdle and protests by a few activist groups also delayed waste management projects,” confirms a senior IAS official, who has served at the Ripon Buildings.

“The rules insisting segregation of waste came into force by year 2000 and in Chennai, the concept was introduced in 2003. Initially, the door-to-door campaign was a success but as there were no end solutions at the dumping yard, the project on the whole failed,” explains former chief engineer of Chennai corporation, Mr A. Swaminathan.

Then corporation commissioner M.P. Vijayakumar was keen on source segregation and the public also cooperated but as there was no scientific solution in the dumping yard, the waste was left to pile up without being reduced as zero waste, he added.

“The former mayors had their own style of functioning and have also brought in some new projects to the city. But when we discuss about waste management in Chennai, the capital city is lagging behind and other metros are relatively clean,” opines Mr Sathish Babu, a techie based in Chennai, who frequents Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

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