Corporation stares at space shortage in Vellalore dump yard

Unsegregated waste a challenge of monstrous proportion to the civic body, says Commissioner

In six months the Coimbatore Corporation will be left with no space in the Vellalore dump yard to store waste if residents do not start segregating.

“In my estimate the civic body has only around six months’ space left to dump waste as the unsegregated waste that the residents handover to the Corporation has turned a challenge of monstrous proportion,” Corporation Commissioner Raja Gopal Sunkara says.

Though he does not have an accurate data on how much space the daily 1,000-odd tonne waste eats up, he can confidently say that the Corporation has not much time left. “From my first visit to the Vellalore dump yard to the latest visit a few days ago, I can see a lot of space is filled with waste. It is based on this visual assessment that I have estimated six months.”

There is only one way to avoid the crisis and that is for the residents to start segregating waste into wet, organic and dry, inorganic waste. This is the solution in the long run as well, Mr. Sunkara says.

For, if the Corporation starts getting more organic waste, it will be able to process it at the Coimbatore Integrated Waste Management Company Pvt. Ltd.’s facility in Vellalore, its vermin compost plant and micro compost centres spread across the city.

This will almost halve the waste going to Vellalore as the three means of managing organic waste will take care of 450-500 tonne waste a day. The remaining waste will only be dry, inorganic waste which the Corporation will manage at material recovery facilities to be either sold to recyclers or turned into refuse derived fuel.

It was with an eye on the ensuing problem in Vellalore he had asked all sanitary inspectors to improve organic waste collection from each of the 100 wards, Mr. Sunkara says and adds that the drive has yielded results as the quantity of organic waste collected has increased from 90 tonne to 175 tonne a day.

The Corporation is processing this waste at its vermin compost plant and micro compost centres.

In the coming days, the Corporation will ask all bulk waste generators – those apartments and other establishments generating over 100 tonne waste a day – to manage their waste. The bulk waste generators can either tie-up with a third-party service provider or process the waste they generate.

This way the Corporation can better utilise its men and machinery to improve waste collection.

The next on the list is increasing the number of auto rickshaws or small goods carriers for waste collection and slowly phase out lorries.

Mr. Sunkara says a Corporation study shows that waste collection using the 200 lorries and transporting the waste to either the micro compost centres or Vellalore dump yard helped Corporation save on fuel. This also minimised the number of times the Corporation transferred waste from one vehicle to another.

If the Corporation were to use the lorries it had hired, it cost ₹1 crore a month on waste transportation. If it uses only the auto rickshaws the Corporation will be spending less than one-tenth of the money.

Therefore, the Corporation has started phasing out lorries and it has recently reduced the number of hired vehicles from 71 to 44.

Besides, the Corporation also plans to buy 170 auto rickshaws to go completely push cart-free, he adds.

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