Waste Management

Taking morning walks and evening strolls on the beach shore near the Arupadai Veedu Murugan temple in Kalakshetra Colony, Besant Nagar used to be an enjoyable experience. But, it is not so anymore. In the last two years, this stretch of the seashore has gradually deteriorated because of open defection, indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste and construction debris, and other illegal activities. This has not just made the beach filthy, but also unsafe. Residents living nearby (Besant Nagar, Ward 179) have stopped frequenting this stretch, owing to a lack of patrolling. However, the situation worsened about six months ago, when…

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Chennai generates about 6,000 metric tonnes of garbage every day. As the city's population continues to grow, waste generation is expected to increase even more. Not to mention the huge quantities of legacy waste currently accumulating in the Kodungaiyur and Perungudi dump yards. How will the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) effectively manage these vast amounts of waste? As this is a common urban issue, the government has proposed a solution already implemented in several other Indian cities. It suggests establishing an integrated waste management project facility, including a waste-to-energy (WTE) plant. It would come up in the North Chennai region,…

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The peepal (Ficus Religiosa) and banyan (Ficus Benghalensis) trees, both members of the Moraceae family, often have raised platforms around them for people to sit and rest under their cool shade. These trees are commonly found near temples and lakes. Believers sometimes place their religious waste under these trees. These include posters, paintings, idols of gods, pictures of ancestors, religious scriptures, clothes that have been used for prayer rituals, disused lamps etc. I spoke to my friend Ashwini who has some knowledge of the scriptures. She chanted a shloka in response to my question. mūlato brahmarūpāya madhyato viṣṇurūpiṇe .agrataḥ śivarūpāya…

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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…

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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…

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'Galli Number 4', Seelampur in New Delhi is well-known for being India's largest e-waste market. Birds fly over a sprawling stream of dirty, black water overflowing with a deluge of plastic, and metallic waste. Children sift through the refuse with their small hands delicately exploring the piles of garbage hoping to find something of worth that could fetch them a few rupees.  Narrow lanes and footpaths are riddled with discarded mobile phones, defunct computer supplements, broken guts of a circuit board, cuts of optical fibres, and various other dead and rejected electronics.  This suburb in Shahadara district of east Delhi,…

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Recently, when I drove through Varale-Ambethan Road in Pune, I saw a worrying sight near the Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial area. Piles of garbage lined the roadside, set ablaze in the afternoon sun. The burning garbage consisted of a hazardous mix of chemicals, metals, and food waste. The air, filled with the pungent smell of burning refuse, was a cocktail of impurities. During my visit, the acrid smoke lingered for at least two hours, permeating the air and infiltrating the air conditioning vents of industries and vehicles passing by. It was difficult to breathe easily while travelling through that road.  The garbage…

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The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) recently released the results of the 2023 Swachh Survekshan, a cleanliness survey conducted as part of the Swachh Bharat (Urban) campaign that covers 446 cities. The evaluation parameters covered the cleanliness levels of residential and commercial areas as well as public spaces, water bodies, parks, schools and waste management arrangements. Indore and Surat shared the first rank while Navi Mumbai bagged third place. As for our State, the survey results are rather tepid – no city in Tamil Nadu made it to the top 100 clean cities list. Trichy was named the…

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Gift-giving is a time-honoured tradition that helps us celebrate special occasions, express our love and appreciation for others, and foster strong social connections. However, the way we approach gifting can have a significant impact on the environment. Many gifts end up unused, discarded, or contributing to environmental pollution. In this article, I will share the consequences of gift-giving and suggest options for sensible gifting. As I have observed numerous gifts accumulating beneath Christmas trees or even being discarded in the ground, only to be unearthed as waste, I have become aware of the pressing issue of gift-related waste. Additionally, working…

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In 2019, a new underground drainage pipe (UGD) was installed to clear an earlier blocked sewer that erupted, leaked, and contaminated the land. The culprit – output from the unplanned growth of commercial kitchens in 5th block, Koramangala, which have been pumping these effluents into the UGD. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) moved the UGD from the carriage way to the side of the road, where all the utilities were planned, as part of the whitetopping procedure. They found that the discharge from the line that was attached to a restaurant was entirely filled with oil when…

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