How can we bring waste management back on track in Chennai post COVID?

Join our eminent panel this Friday to understand how COVID-19 has dented waste management efforts in Chennai and what we can do to find solutions.

Overflowing dustbins, irregular collection of garbage and mounds of unsegregated mixed wastes — these are the stuff that every Chennaiite’s nightmares are made up of. But thanks to the efforts of the Chennai Corporation, civic activists and citizens, the city had made significant positive strides in solid waste management before the onset of the pandemic. 

The city corporation decentralised waste collection and segregation. Through the Zero Waste initiative, the civic body set up a system where collection and segregation took place at various points at the zonal level, with subsequent processing at the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and Micro Composting Centres (MCC). The segregated waste was collected door-to-door before being sent to the facilities at the ward level for secondary segregation.

At the community level, citizens spearheaded campaigns to ensure 100 percent segregation of waste, complained to the GCC helplines whenever they noticed lapses and recycled dry waste. 

And then came the pandemic, which has undone much of the progress made. The Corporation had to pause all other projects to prioritise COVID control. As a result, micro composting centres had to be shut down. Just as the civic body was about to resume and expedite the bioremediation of dump yards and scale up segregation measures, the second wave hit us hard. Secondary segregation has gone for a toss and several incidents of unsafe disposal of medical/COVID waste have been reported across the city.

Chennaiites can now sell their dry waste online through Madras Waste Exchange. Credits: Pexels

Read More: Where does the waste generated in your home go?

Key questions in the wake of COVID

How has lockdown affected source segregation and overall management of the city’s solid waste?

What are the processes to be followed, especially when it comes to waste generated at medical facilities and COVID homes or care centres?

What are the key challenges today that citizens and civic authorities face?

What can be done to resolve the problem and put the city back on track in terms of effective disposal, collection and processing of solid waste generated?

Citizen Matters brings together an informed and involved panel to discuss these questions and explore strategies and solutions to the growing problems surrounding solid waste management in Chennai. The panelists are:

  • Medical waste activist, Pugalaventhan V
  • Chief Engineer of Solid Waste Management (SWM) department, GCC N Mahesan
  • Senior Researcher of Citizen consumer and civic Action Group, Sumana Narayanan
  • SWM enthusiast, Jayanthi Premchandar
  • Founder and CEO of Paperman, Mathew Jose

Do join us to know more about the issues and solutions from these experts and ask any question that you may have on issues of waste management in the city and your neighbourhood.

Also read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

A Bengaluru resident’s journey from food waste clean up to environmental activism

The story of how the writer innovatively disposes of his kitchen waste, and promotes recycling in the process, benefiting both humans and animals.

When I grew up in my home state, Ajmer, Rajasthan, I used to go to my grandparent’s place, a small town in Rajasthan, during summer vacations in the 1990s. This place was self- sufficient at waste disposal as I would think most of India was at that time. There were no plastic bags, plastic bottles, single use plastic cups, cutlery etc. Whatever little waste that was generated in the kitchen was diligently put in a street sink— a big stone bowl where people can throw their kitchen wet waste for cattle to eat or drink from. The cows would come…

Similar Story

Escalating garbage crisis in Bengaluru’s Ilyas Nagar, residents seek BBMP action

People seem to feel that waste dumping is quite acceptable in Ilyas Nagar. BBMP is yet to act on residents' complaints.

The garbage issue is escalating into a nightmare for residents of Ilyas Nagar, a residential locality in south Bengaluru's Yelachenahalli.  As you take a left turn from the Outer Ring Road to enter the BWSSB Pipeline Road, which connects 100 feet Ring Road, just a few metres inside, you will see a garbage dump along the roadside. And as you move ahead, 50 metres from Razor King saloon, you can see another bigger garbage dump. Despite garbage vans coming to their doorstep, some residents choose to dump waste along the side of the BWSSB Pipeline Road.  The road is poorly…