New Delhi: On October 2, as the nation celebrated Rashtriya Swachhta Diwas marking three years of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Telangana’s capital city Hyderabad was drowning in heavy rains ironically due to poor implementation of Clean India Mission’s principles. The knee-level water which damaged roads caused huge traffic jams and power failures across the city of nizams. Just like in Mumbai, irrational dumping of garbage into drains and open nullahs was primarily responsible for causing the water logging in several parts of the city.
Issuing a press note titled ‘Who to be blamed’, a few days back, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) highlighted the damage garbage, especially plastic waste, had done to the sewer pipes which made the water to stagnate for nearly 48 hours. To show the grim reality of how plastic wastes, including polythenes and wrappers, had choked the storm water drains, the civic body even released pictures taken at the Bio Diversity Junction, one of the places where a heavy proportion of plastic litter was found.
This is first time that major junctions like the old Bombay Highway near ESCI, Bio Diversity, Uppal, RTC X Roads, Begumpet and Bowenpally came to a standstill after receiving incessant rains. Upon solving the waster clogging issues, the civic officials procured huge lumps of plastic waste entwined with debris. About 6-7 tonnes of garbage was recovered post the heavy rainfall on October 2, Hari Chandana Dasari, Commissioner, GHMC tells NDTV.
In most areas of the city, plastic bags and litter on roads flowed with rain water and gradually turned into blocks hampering flow of rain water causing water stagnation on the road obstructing traffic flow. These roads were closed for next 12 hours. “After clearing the water, the pipes were removed and to the surprise of everybody, mostly it was only the plastic bags which formed as a ring inside the pipes not allowing even one drop of water into the pipes,” read the press note.
Sanitary workers from GHMC worked for nearly 30 hours round the clock to remove the chunks of trash stuck in the drains. From GHMC Engineer cadre to the lowest level, every official worked from evening of October 2 till the night of October
To avoid a repeat of another such episode in the city, which was ranked 22nd in the Swachh Survekshan 2017, the municipal body has directed all the ward officials of the city to initiate anti-plastic drives in their respective areas. For starters, all the local vendors, shopkeepers and wholesale retailers will be discouraged to use plastic bags below 50 microns. Ms Dasari also hinted towards formulating a ban on polythenes in the city soon. The civic body will deploy 200 volunteers for controlling the usage of plastic bags below 50 microns. These volunteers will also make people aware about the environmental hazards plastic waste. Heavy penalties will be imposed on non-registered commercial establishments for using plastic bags.
People need to realise that it is the inefficiency in treating waste that has led to entire issue of water logging. Citizens need to take charge of their waste and keep a check on their littering habits. It has to be understood that throwing of garbage on roads and drains has led to water logging, traffic jams, vehicles getting damaged, sleepless nights to all the officials, and most importantly panic to the public, adds Ms Dasari.
The press note also underlined urbanisation as one of the problems. For instance, open roads previously acted as natural drainage system in the form of small ponds. These ponds which used to retain the water for some time and eventually release it are now developed into high rise structures turning areas into concrete jungles.