Dakshina Kannada made headlines with its excellent success rate in total sanitation campaign and 203 gram panchayats (GPs) ended up winning Nirmal Gram Puraskar till last year. But, now the scene has changed as the GPs have failed sustain the drive, resulting in mounds of garbage. Roads are becoming narrower for vehicle users as garbage is dumped on the roadside from Thokkottu to Mudipu, Kotekar villages on the outskirts of Mangalore city.
When total sanitation campaign picked up in the district, all the GPs participated wholeheartedly to make it a success and won the award at the national level also. Many GPs decided to construct plastic soudha to dump the plastic covers and to give way for its re-use or use it for productive purpose like laying of roads.
Though places like Deralakatte, Kuthar, Kotekar and Asaigoli have seen rapid development with the setting up of medical and engineering colleges and Mangalore University, garbage collection and clearance have not improved in these areas. Added to this is a section of indifferent residents and traders, who dump garbage in public places and road margins.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, MGNREGA ombudsman Sheena Shetty, who along with Jana Shikshana Trust Director Krishna Moolya were part of cleanliness drive during total sanitation campaign, said “I have been receiving several complaints from general public on dumping of waste on either side of the road. About three to four loads of garbage are being dumped near a college at Deralakatte in Belma gram panchayat. Heaps of garbage are seen in front of Belma gram panchayat itself. An open ground near a school in Jalalbhag in Kotekar gram panchayat has been turned into a dump yard. The mountains of garbage in front of a saw mill in Natekal in Konaje gram panchayat will become bigger if the authorities fail to clear them immediately.”
A shopkeeper said “plastic bags are thrown everywhere, including tourist places, water bodies and drains. We have created a culture, which is perpetually dependent on plastic. Normally, the plastic bags are light and get dirty very fast. When there is wind, they fly and get struck to plants and bushes, affecting the beauty of the place.”
The plastic soudha which was constructed at Assaigoli has been turned into a dump yard.
“The plastic soudha should be utilised effectively for dumping the plastic covers. However, the soudha is used for dumping the plastic covers filled with waste. The plastic bags containing all types of waste stuffed in them tightly closed are dumped outside the soudha,” said Vidya, a resident.
It is an eyesore to see garbage dumped on the roadside and burnt. Despite High Court orders on various issues relating to garbage handling, very little has been done by the local bodies in handling garbage. Just like the way the volume of traffic on Thokkottu-Mudipu stretch has increased phenomenally, garbage volume is increasing day-by-day, which is not being cleared by the local bodies, said a resident of Kuthar.
Sheena Shetty said that all the GPs should create an awareness on solid waste management among its residents. At least five GPs can join hands in chalking out an action plan for the scientific disposal of waste.
“The authorities should initiate measure to dispose the already existing garbage on either side of the road. Unless the GPs comes out with a stringent rule to punish those dumping waste beside the road, the problem cannot be sorted out. The GPs should motivate hotels and shop keepers to dispose the waste on their own,” he said.