- Solid waste management is a huge problem in Udupi: District Magistrate
- Green protocol will be introduced in commercial areas of the district
- The aim is to completely eradicate wet garbage
New Delhi: Landfills discharging toxic fumes, prone to catching fires during summers is a worrisome reality in India today. From Mumbai’s Deonar landfills enveloping the city with thick smoke to Delhi’s Okhla and Ghazipur garbage dumps majority of these landfills have crossed their lifespan. Alarmed by these horrors of waste management, Udupi district in Karnataka is working towards not only treating its waste but also towards getting rid of its dumping sites altogether.
In a solid waste management workshop held on July 25, officials from the Udupi Zilla Panchayat announced that it will make the district garbage free by October 2, 2019. Vellore Srinivasan, a consultant from the Ministry of Urban Development has started giving training on various model of solid and liquid waste management that the district can adopt. A time chart is being prepared listing out short term goals to be achieved at specific dates, “The aim of imparting training to Self Help Groups (SHGs), volunteering organisations and local officials is to reduce waste generation and at the same time generate an income from selling waste,” District Magistrate Priyanka Mary Francis tells NDTV.
As community involvement is the most important arm of achieving any goal, local officials from 150 plus gram panchayats (GPs) will soon personally visit all the households and encourage people to segregate their waste into bio-degradable and non-biodegradable, “We are not sure how people will react to such an ambitious target of eradicating dumping yards and hence we will conduct step by step awareness,” says Ms Francis.
Since wet waste is a major cause for depletion of landfills, the district aims to cut overall wet garbage generation. Once 100 per cent source segregation is achieved in Individual Household (IHHL), composting will be introduced. “A two pipe composting pit will be integrated in all the households and it’ll be a 90 day cycle. Our aim is to completely eradicate the wet garbage,” adds Ms Francis.
Plastic being a major contributor to toxic waste, the district will soon initiate the ‘Green Protocol’ in commercial buildings and areas. PET bottles, plastic cups, polythene will be completely banned. Caterers in office buildings will have to switch from serving food in plastic dishes to steel or china plates. Inspired from the Green weddings in Kerala where all kinds of non-biodegradable materials are kept at bay, the district magistrate said it plans to encourage the same in the region.
As for the dry waste, all the panchayats will collect dry waste and send them to neighbouring districts for recycling. At present, of the total 150 plus Gram Panchayats (GPs), around 20-30 GPs have landfills where all the dry and wet waste is dumped. All the landfills are situated within the villages in close proximities with the houses, often posing health hazards for the residents. And as such there is no standalone space available to make a new landfill and hence the decision is a crucial step for the district.
Ms Francis believes that problem of waste management is a huge problem in Udupi and due to lack of land space available building solid waste management units in the region isn’t feasible. Hence treating garbage as a resource and not as waste can considerably bring down the crisis she says.