City has a pile of waste management problems

'Mysore may face B'lore like situation if waste mgmt not addressed'

Projects of nine zero waste management plants taken up in Mysore City Corporation (MCC) limits, at an estimated cost of Rs four crore, are today overgrown with weeds and are centres for anti-social elements.

Despite tall claims of the success in waste segregation, according to Health Department officials of MCC, only three of the nine are partly operational. Despite construction works of the plants completed at least a year ago, there are no pourakarmikas or self help groups segregating waste at these centres. Even though MCC was supposed to install compounds around these plants, a majority of them have only been partly covered, or have no compounds at all. 

While few of these plants have small mounds of garbage dumped and left to decay in the open, others show indications of little activity. Several problems have stalled the activities of these centres, leaving the available infrastructure unused by the MCC.

Gokulam plant

The zero waste management plant of Zone 4, set up at ward number 31 has been opposed ever since segregation was launched on a trial basis. The plant, situated close to a crematorium, has irked locals, who complain of bad smell.

Girish Prasad, former chairman of Standing Committee on Health of MCC, said that the locals had to suffer the stench emanating from the crematorium, as some mortal remains were not properly cremated. In addition to this, the locals complained of stench from the zero waste management plant, he said. Even though meetings were held to convince the residents that the plant would not emanate any stench, they agreed during one meeting and opposed it in another meeting, stalling the activities at the plant, he added.

Tejaswini, environmental engineer of Zone 9, said that the plant was only operational for a week, before it was forced to shut down.

Jodi Thenginamara

Two plants of Zones 6 and 7 have been constructed at Jodi Thenginamara. During the visit by MLA M K Somashekar, it was learnt that doors of some of the structures have been ransacked by anti-social elements. The entire plant was overgrown with weeds, with dogs and pigs feasting on decaying heaps of waste at the plant.

Corporator of Ward No 34, Nagabhushan P blamed official apathy for the poor state of affairs of the plant. “Neither Assistant Commissioner of the Zone, nor Health department officials are concerned about the plant. Despite repeated demands to start segregation, there is no response from the officials,” he alleged. The plants were operated for about six months before it was shut down, as the NGO to which waste segregation was entrusted to, discontinued its service.

Kesare

Like Jodi Thenginamara, there are two plants at Kesare. While the plant at Zone 9 is unapproachable owing to the stench of the waste dumped, the plant at Zone 9 fares comparatively better. There is no segregation being done at the Zone 9 plant. Around five to six workers were seen segregating waste at Zone 8 plant, during the visit by the MLA.

Despite activity at Zone 8, there are no bins to collect the segregated waste and to recycle it or use it for the production of manure. Even though Zone 8 generates about 50 tonnes of waste per day, the plant now segregates about two tonnes of waste, using manual labour. Officials say that segregation can be scaled up to ten tonnes, if the necessary machinery is installed. Till then, 48 tonnes of waste from Zone 8, will reach Vidyaranyapuram sewage farm on a daily basis.

Model

Despite the despicable state of affairs at the plants, former MLA Maadegowda said that there were models operational in the city, that MCC could emulate and succeed in waste segregation. Noting the success of waste segregation plant at Ward No 28, he said that the plant had been supported by Federation of Mysore city ward parliaments.

A total of 28 pourakarmikas, paid by MCC, segregate waste and produce manure at the plant. Women self help groups are involved in door to door waste collection, which can be replicated in other plants too, he said.

Cost constraints

Even though Health department officials of MCC have seen keen interest from some NGOs, they say that there was a cost factor involved in the operation of such centres. An official, under the condition of anonymity, said that each unit will require close to Rs 1.8 lakh for salaries of pourakarmikas per month, which is one of the factors hindering waste segregation.

The plants can be turned to revenue generating bodies, if the plants become operational for at least six months continuously, the official said.

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