R. Cheralathan, councillor, explains segregation of waste at source to residents while distributing garbage bins. Convinced that the success of its Rs. 96-crore Integrated Solid Waste Management Programme hinges on the support of the more than 10 lakh people in the city, the Coimbatore Corporation is now trying to make segregation of waste at source a people’s movement.
The civic body is of the firm view that if people store biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste in separate bins and hand over these to the workers instead of dumping along the roads, waste management will be a success in the city. If segregation fails, the whole scheme flops. Therefore, the Corporation has decided to take the message of segregation to the people along with the bins for storing the waste.
As the Corporation staff hand over a green bin and a white one to each household, a Sanitary Inspector or a ward councillor explain to the residents the importance of segregation. Handbills listing the waste that should be stored in green and the white bins are distributed among them. “First, we tell them why garbage should not lie rotting in the open,” says Sanitary Inspector K.V. Thirumal, who holds orientation sessions every morning or Sunday evening for the residents. “I insist that the children also should attend these sessions so that they know the importance of waste management,” he says.
If garbage lies in the open for four days, it generates methane gas that is harmful to workers and the people around. And, burning as a method of disposal is unwise as it results in harmful emission. The Corporation is asking its waste management staff to interact with the public on primary collection. The people are being told during bins distribution that while it is the Corporation’s task to lay roads and provide streetlights and drainage, it is the people’s responsibility also to keep the environs clean.
“Some years later, cities will not have conservancy workers and the entire waste management may be mechanised. Therefore, the culture of segregation and effective use of community bins and other facilities will have to set in now,” says Mr. Thirumal, who also coordinates training sessions for conservancy workers. Corporation East Zone chairman S.M. Samy says awareness among residents is increasing.