Waste can pile up in societies, PMC won’t lift it

PUNE: Big housing societies across the city will have to dispose of their wet garbage on their own as the will stop lifting their trash from Sunday.
The decision will affect over 700 societies that will now have to scramble for alternative arrangements. Civic officials said these societies are expected to take measures to dispose of the wet garbage on their premises.

Any establishment that generates more than 100kg wet garbage or a society with over 40,000 sqm should have a garbage disposal system of its own under the solid management rules.

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The problem of solid waste management has gone out of hand in Pune city. The situation is more grave in areas in the fringes that are developing rapidly with mega housing projects cropping up. Some areas like Wagholi, that do not fall in the municipal limits, are battling smoke and fumes of burning garbage every day. It is time citizens take up the responsibility of disposing of wet garbage at source and big housing societies set up vermi composting units. A little effort and initiative by all citizens can go a long way in solving the problem and make Pune a truly clean and green city.

“We are keeping a watch over organizations like educational institutions and big companies. They will be issued similar orders,” Dnyaneshwar Molak, head of PMC’s solid waste management department, said.

At source disposal is a must for these organizations and housing societies. They can choose options like vermi composting or mechanised composting.

“Many housing societies have built compost pits. But after using them for a while, they stopped composting their own . Steps should be taken for scientifically disposing the wet garbage at each society’s level,” mayor Mukta Tilak said.

Civic officials said notices were sent to the 700-odd societies, but many of them have ignored them and continued to flout at source wet garbage disposal norms. Some have taken corrective measures and their efforts will be considered while taking action.

The city as a whole generates nearly 1,600 metric tonnes of garbage every day. Nearly 250 tonne is wet garbage and 850 tonne is dry, while 500 tonne is mixed garbage. Of the garbage generated every day, around 15% is plastic.

The civic body has a strategy to deal with solid waste for a clean Pune through citizens’ participation by 2025.

Under the plan, the PMC website says, it hopes to achieve 100% door-to-door segregated waste collection, minimize waste generation, process waste collected and develop an integrated waste management system through citizens engagement using IT solutions for monitoring the entire system.

It plans to stop open dumping at the Undri landfill site within two years.

Good step, say activists

Action against societies for not treating their waste is the need of the hour as it will make citizens realize the importance of segregation and disposal, activists said.

“The initiative is good, but there should not be a blanket ban. Older societies should be exempted,” Vivek Velankar of Sajag Nagrik Manch, a citizens’ group, said.

Those societies which have got building approvals showing that they will have solid waste management facilities should be subjected to this ban. Establishments which have taken benefit of property tax concession for wet garbage disposal at source should also be told to dispose of their wet waste, others said.

“Citizens should take efforts for garbage disposal at source. It is the basis for a good solid waste management system. The PMC is also to blame for the situation. It should have kept a watch on societies which have not followed the norms. Strict implementation of solid waste management is a must,” Major General S C N Jatar (retd) of Nagrik Chetna Manch, a citizens group, said.

The civic body should not give the competition certificate till it is satisfied with the waste disposal facilities in the societies, others said.

“A ban with a stroke of pen is not the correct way to approach the problem. The civic body should do it step-by-step. Initiatives for creating awareness in the societies are needed. Citizens are paying charges for garbage disposal and this service should be provided,” Suhas Patwardhan , chairman of Pune District Cooperative Housing Federation Limited, told TOI.

There are 10,000 registered societies of which only 5% are bigger than 40,000 sqm but those that generate r 100kg waste is nearly 60%.

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