Kolkata to go electronic way to monitor litter bugs

Kolkata to go electronic way to monitor litter bugs

Civic body to install CCTV cameras to catch offenders

Kolkata to go electronic way to monitor litter bugs

In a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has decided to take the high-tech way to monitor litter bugs.

Believing that surveillance is necessary in keeping the city clean, the civic body has decided to instal around 120 close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at garbage vats in the city to keep an eye on those adding to the metropolis’ filth.

The KMC, which handles millions of tonnes of garbage every year, has decided to launch a full-scale campaign against litterbugs, and will record video footage of offenders to catch them in the act—throwing garbage outside the vats instead of inside.

The recording process will be monitored from the KMC headquarters.

According to senior KMC officials, the civic body runs a daily service where sweepers employed by its solid waste management department collect garbage in carts from houses every morning. Despite this, a lot of people dump garbage in nearby vats at other times of the day.

Illegal dumping

“We want to keep an eye on illegal dumping of garbage, which is crucial to maintaining cleanliness. It’s a challenge, because most of the major open vats are unmanned,” said Debabrata Majumdar, member of the  Mayor-in-Council in charge of the KMC’s solid waste management department.

Senior officials said the department plans to bring 120 of the 374 unmanned open garbage vats under surveillance. “These 120 vats are unmanned, unlike the rest, which have been converted into compactor stations, where garbage dumped is compacted into square bales and transported to the city’s major landfill, Dhapa.

“These don’t need monitoring as they are manned round the clock. However, the open ones are misused by a lot of resident, despite repeated requests and awareness campaigns,” said Majumdar.

Officials said the KMC has tied up with private operator Reliance Jio, telecom arm of the Mukesh Ambani-run conglomerate, to help instal the CCTV cameras and lay the necessary optic-fibre cable network.

“Through this network, we will easily identify those responsible for illegal garbage-dumping, particularly in areas where there are more high-rises and a lot of garbage is generated. We can also keep an eye on our employees to see if they are doing their job properly,” said a senior official.

Majumdar and officials concerned have already held a meeting with Reliance Jio officials on May 22 on how to lay cables and instal cameras so they are not stolen. Officials said cameras will also be installed at some areas that are prone to water-logging to ensure civic employees are doing their jobs properly.

Senior officials said the KMC is also in the process of identifying major vats across the city where deposits cross 20 tonne a day and the solid waste management department has to make multiple trips to clear garbage from there.

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