‘Segregate Waste or Face Fines- Don’t Let Stormwater into UGD’s’- Warns MCC Commissioner
Mangaluru: Until now Mangaluru City Corporation Commissioner Akshy Sridhar and MCC Mayor Premanand Shetty During at their best had tried hard in convincing and also pressurizing the residents and business establishments to segregate waste, but it seems like MCC’s efforts have not reached the 100% mark in controlling the garbage disposal. After several unsuccessful attempts to make waste segregation mandatory in the city, the Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) has now acted against waste generators, including residents and business establishments. But even after a stern warning from MCC Commissioner and MCC Mayor of imposing hefty fines for violators, still, we are seeing waste not segregated- and the poor Pourakarmikas are facing a tough time, whether to pick such a kind of waste or leave it behind.
In the first phase, it was decided to put more restrictions in place at its landfill in Pachanady. The agency, Antony Waste Handling Cell that collects and transports waste from the city had to ensure that only segregated waste is brought to the dump yard. In the next phase, officials from MCC went on a drive to penalize residents and commercial establishments if they do not segregate waste at its source. In October 2020, during a meeting, MCC officials had said that they have already started initiatives to make waste segregation compulsory in the entire city corporation limits.
It is learnt that the city generates an average of 300 plus tonnes of dry and wet waste per day, since the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier, the city was generating an average of 330 tonnes of waste (both dry and wet) per day, adding that the city corporation has decided to impose penalties on waste generators, including residents, in the second phase. In spite of the warnings and awareness programmes by MCC, a majority of the citizens of Mangaluru being still ignorant are not segregating waste, thereby putting the burden on the waste collectors. These Pourakarmikas are facing a lot of abuse and arguments with the residents when they hesitate to collect the waste that is not segregated, and many times residents have tried to attack these waste collectors for the same reason, as per the Pourakarmikas.
With residents still not adhering to the segregation rules implemented by MCC Commissioner Akshy Sridhar after discussing with other MCC Council Board members have decided to take action on those residents who violate the segregation norms. In his communication to Team Mangalorean, the Commissioner has said, ” Segregation at source is mandatory especially during pandemic since sanitation workers in the frontline will get directly exposed to covid-19 through waste generated from homes. People should look at this from a humane angle and realise that when they spend a few seconds segregating before throwing garbage into the bin, it will improve the quality of life of some sanitation workers”.
“We will commence a drive soon, and a penalty will be imposed on waste generators through health inspectors. The penalty amount will be doubled for the repeat of violations. Meanwhile, a penalty to the tune of Rs 25,000 also may be imposed on large-scale waste generators. MCC has fixed stickers outside the homes of Covid-19 patients, and waste collectors have been directed not to mix medical waste from such households. Those residents who violate the waste segregation rules will be booked under the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act 1976, and the MCC has decided to fine violators heavily. We will also book criminal cases against people dumping garbage on the roadside, and a fine of Rs 10,000 will be slapped against them. If people can’t do this bare minimum, then fines ranging from Rs 1500 to 25,000 will be levied, and for people who litter, cases may also be booked under relevant law”.
“Even though we have received a good response for the waste segregation drive in some of the wards in the city. However, we are yet to make it more streamlined in most of the wards. We are planning to make waste segregation strict at our landfill at Pachanady, where only the segregated waste will be allowed, henceforth. Accordingly, the Antony Waste Handling Cell, the solid waste management contractor, will be made responsible for it, and a penalty will be levied on them if they fail to bring segregated waste. They should bring waste that is segregated at the source itself. Tonnage will not be calculated if they bring mixed waste, which will make the contractor face a loss. We have already issued a notice to the contractor in this regard,” adds Commissioner.
He has further said, “Non-segregated waste is of great danger to the sanitary workers, and many Pourakarmikas are affected with the Covid-19 Virus. Therefore, many of them are reluctant to collect non-segregated waste for their safety and others. In order to keep the health conditions of the sanitary workers, residents should cooperate in segregating waste (keeping medical waste separate) before placing the waste outside for collection. MCC will take all the required steps to effectively implement the scientific disposal of waste. The bio-medical waste from the quarantine and isolation houses will be disposed of as per the guidelines of the health department, state, and union governments”.
“To contain the spread of Covid-19, we have formed a task force taking all corporators into confidence. For each ward, officials from the MCC have been appointed as nodal officers. The ward committee task force will identify the primary and the secondary contacts of Covid-19 patients and provide treatment to them. The MCC has also started a mobile swab collection team. The patients who are in home isolation are being provided with a home isolation health kit which consists of zinc, vitamin, and other essential medicines. MCC will be collecting used masks separately. We are making a kind request to the residents to cooperate with MCC in the scientific disposal of waste to keep our environment clean. Through this, we can also prevent the tragedy which took place in 2019 at the landfill in Pachanady. If the public fails to adhere to the guidelines, then they will have to pay hefty fines. In case of any complaints, the public may contact the helpline number 155313 and 9449007722 (WhatsApp),” adds Commissioner.
Unfortunately, all the efforts put in by MCC go in vain, since the residents give a damn about segregating waste, having no fear of the law nor worried about paying fines. This is total ignorance by most of the City’s residents. As we are still seeing many residents and business owners not following the waste segregation methods, MCC should take stringent steps which are very much necessary with the National Green Tribunal too monitoring the situation. While the NGT has also directed the chief secretary to explain in person steps the state has taken to comply with the Solid Waste Management Act, 2016, an act that even the Union government is serious about. It is learnt that Households, hotels, hostels, educational institutions, bars and restaurants, marriage halls, catering firms and businesses who convert wet waste into compost will get a rebate of 50% in solid waste management cess they pay as part of property tax. MCC had provided forms for this purpose in October 2020, where Health inspectors would verify compost arrangements in households and institutions to facilitate them in claiming the rebate. But has the plan been working, only God knows?
‘STOP ALLOWING STORMWATER DRAIN INTO UNDERGROUND DRAINAGE WARNS MCC COMMISSIONER TO HIGHRISE BUILDINGS & APARTMENTS IN THE CITY:
MCC Commissioner Akshy Sridhar has warned high-rise buildings and apartments in the City against letting stormwater flow into nearby Underground drains (UGD). In his statement to the media, the Commissioner said, “Many buildings in the city have been letting water into the UGD instead of allowing it to flow into the stormwater drain. This has resulted in the overflow of UGD’s and leakage in the manholes at many places in the City. Those who connected stormwater pipes to UGD’s should disconnect the same immediately. Violators will be booked under the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Act 1976 if they do not adhere to the rules”.
Also, the Commissioner has issued a public notice banning all types of digging the streets during the rainy season from the month of June to September. He has said, “Digging of earth and excavation work for construction and other development purposes have been banned during the rainy season, to prevent landslides and other calamities”.
It should be noted that MCC has opened a WhatsApp helpline for the convenience of people, to report any such instances in their locality. People may send pictures of such instances to 9449007722 with details.