- Five mini-battery operated garbage collecting vehicles are operational
- The vehicles will be able to enter narrow lanes and collect garbage
- The Salem municipal corporation will soon procure 35 more such vehicles
New Delhi: Garbage collection in urban India remains a problem for municipal bodies. Unplanned cities with numerous lanes and by-lanes pose a challenge, in terms of coverage, for garbage collection vehicles. Size of Garbage collection vehicles too make it difficult for these to maneuver inside small lanes, and making door to door garbage collection tough. The municipal corporation of Salem in Tamil Nadu faced a similar problem, as large garbage collection vehicles were unable to collect garbage from households in narrow lanes.
Salem generates 335 metric tonnes of waste daily. On December 7, 2017, a fleet of five battery-operated mini garbage collection vehicles began operation in Salem, in what is being seen as an end to the plight of households which could not be covered by traditional garbage collection vehicles. The five vehicles, sponsored under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme of ICICI Bank, will operate on two out of its four zones, namely Suramangalam Zonal and Hasthampatty Zonal divisions. Consisting of 15 wards each, these five vehicles will operate in these two zones and collect garbage from households.
Our officials received complaint that many households were not being able to dispose waste as vehicles could not reach them. Handheld garbage collection carts were also not an option as that takes up too much time. During our discussions with ICICI Bank’s CSR branch, we put forward the idea of investing in mini-battery operated vehicles which could cover longer distances and collect garbage from households irrespective of their location, said R Sadheesh, Municipal Commissioner, Salem.
The mini-battery vehicles can each carry up to half a tonne of garbage and given their size, can conduct multiple trips in each zone.
The vehicles come at a cost of Rs 1.90 lakh each and 35 more will be procured by the municipality by the next two months to ensure that they run at par with the municipality’s larger garbage collecting vehicles. The vehicles run on batteries and not diesel or petrol, making them eco-friendly.
Anticipating that the drivers of the vehicles may need training on how to operate them, four workshops have been set up in the four zones of the city, which will assist the drivers and help maintain these vehicles.
Each vehicle has six dustbins installed which can together hold nearly one tonne of garbage. The vehicles can function for five to six hours when fully charged, so from a single zone, they can do multiple rounds to pick up garbage. Garbage once collected by a vehicle is disposed to the nearest zonal waste disposal centre, from where it is transported for treatment, said Mr Sadheesh.
Solid waste management was privatised in 21 of 60 wards of Salem in 2014 and the company in-charge of managing the waste of those wards has a workforce of 750 people. The rest of the wards are managed by the city municipal corporation. Though Salem ranked a moderate 134 in the Swachh Survekshan 2017 rankings, its waste segregation programme has been successful as nearly 55 wards have reported 100 per cent waste segregation. The municipal corporation is hopeful that with the introduction of forty mini-battery garbage collection vehicles) by March 2018, its door-to-door garbage collection numbers will also rise, helping the city secure a better position in Swachh Survekshan 2018.