The Corporation’s move to phase out garbage bins appears to have failed to yield the desired results.
Following the new Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, framed by the Central government, which was amended after 16 years, the Tiruchi Corporation decided in 2016 to remove all garbage bins across the city within two years. To execute the decision, the civic body made it mandatory for residents to hand over domestic waste directly to pushcarts or light commercial vehicles of the Corporation.
It also introduced spot fine system for those violating the rules and procured 140 light commercial vehicles for all 65 wards to achieve the ambitious initiative to make the city free of garbage bins.
According to Corporation data, the city generates 450 tonnes of solid waste a day on an average. Of it, Gandhi Market, Chathiram Bus Stand, Central Bus Stand and retail vegetable markets account for 15% to 20% of total garbage generated in the city.
The Corporation deployed 280 push carts, 352 steel containers, 756 compactor bins, 2,460 barrels and 200 twin bin stands for garbage collection and transportation. They were placed on street corners, Gandhi Market, Chathiram Bus Stand, Central Bus Stand and other thickly-populated areas. As per the earlier system, the vehicles employed by the Corporation would collect and transport garbage to the Ariyamangalam dump yard.
Soon after the introduction of the litter-free city plan in 2016, the Corporation removed most of the garbage bins, compactor bins and barrels. Instead, it started collecting domestic garbage from the households itself. Though the system is claimed to be going well in several areas, ground reports suggest that residents continue to dump biodegradable and non-degradable waste at the places, where the bins were kept.
Hawkers, roadside traders and eateries and tea stalls, who find it inconvenient to hand over the garbage after completing their day’s sale, simply dump garbage on roads. “We need to clear waste every day. There is no system to hand over waste in the night hours. We have no options except to dump waste on roads,” said a tea stall worker at Cantonment.
Though the Corporation installed a system to monitor the garbage collection by QR code scanning, there are complaints that the sanitary workers fail to turn up regularly to collect domestic garbage, forcing them to dump waste on the roadside. Residents are of the view that the civic body should not show urgency in abolishing dustbins completely. It should carry out a comprehensive study on the practice of dumping waste on roads so as to take corrective steps.
Corporation Commissioner N. Ravichandran told that he had received complaints that traders and eateries in some areas continued to dump waste on roads during night hours. In some places, where dustbins were removed recently, residents placed waste as usual without knowing that they should not resort to such practice. The vulnerable spots would be identified. Awareness would be created among them on handing over garbage only to the sanitary workers.