CHENNAI: Did you know that the amount of garbage you dump into your dust bins has been increasing every year. With the increasing population in the Chennai city, data from the dump sites at Kodungaiyur and Perungudi has shown that there is an increase of 8% of the waste that enters the landfill. It is not 5,500 tonnes as claimed by the Greater Chennai corporation. Presently, including the construction and demolition waste generated and the non-recyclable waste, about 7,000 tonnes is being generated. In Perungudi landfill alone, about 2,800 tonnes of waste is being dumped.
According to Kurian Joseph, director of the Tamil Nadu climate studio who has been studying the landfills and the solid waste composition of the Chennai’s waste, the city requires more decentralised composting centres if it desires to catch up with this increase in waste. “We need to reduce the waste that enters the landfill and the first step would be to stop wet waste at the zone itself,” he said.
In Chennai, as per data, daily a minimum of 800-1,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste is generated. About 400 tonnes of coconut and plantain waste is generated. About 1,000 tonnes of segregated waste is processed at various composting centres and bio-gas plants. About 400 tonnes of garbage waste is also processed. The remaining, 4,000-4,500 tonnes of waste goes to the landfills.
With land being a major road block for setting up new waste processing centres, chief engineer for solid waste N Mahesan said that they will use the grassland developed after bio-mining processes to set up waste to energy plants. However, that may take up to 2-3 years. And activists said, even these plants will have a capacity of just 1,500 tonnes each which won’t solve as the waste is growing at 8% rate. This means in the next five years, Chennai will generate about 9,000 tonnes per day and will process only 50% of it.
Kurian said, the government has taken several initiatives however, it needs to increase capacities at existing facilities and speed up all the projects if it intends to catch up.
Arappor Iyakkam, Jayaram Venkatesan had told TOI that instead of focussing on collection and transportation, the civic body needs to spend more on processing of the waste.