Lonavala, the attractive hill station in Maharashtra generates 25TPD of solid waste. Ganesh Shete, Chief Officer, Municipal Council talks about the various programmes initiated since he joined Council eight months back.
Management of Solid Waste
Around fifty percent of solid waste and city cleaning has been outsourced to Mumbai based Digambar Madhur Sanstha and the rest is done with the help of 120 workers from the Municipal Council. Soon, we will be floating a tender for mechanised cleaning of the city.
Main challenge lies in sensitizing the public about not littering and encouraging them to dump the waste at designated points. Waste should be segregated into dry waste and wet waste – dry waste in yellow dust bin and wet waste in green dust bin. Hotels, restaurants, households and other commercial establishments have been directed to introduce two bucket system for segregating dry and wet waste.
Chiplun in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra was made a dust bin free city during my official term. It was accomplished by removing dustbins in the premises of households and commercial establishments. This system proved to be effective as it encouraged people to dump waste in municipal vehicles equipped with separate compartments for collecting dry and wet waste at stipulated time intervals. In the past it was experienced that the over flowing garbage used to get strewn on the city roads and hence created unhygienic conditions. We have implemented this system in three wards of Lonavala. Besides households, hotels and restaurants owners have also been issued guidelines to do the same.
Public awareness is important in SWM. Imposing fine will not give results unless people realize the importance of keeping the city clean. I have been delivering lectures in schools to educate students about cleanliness so that they can propagate the idea of hygiene at their homes.
Plastic free city
Majority of garbage is plastic waste and it leads to clogging the drainage system of the city. We plan to accomplish the plan of plastic free city by imposing the rule of prohibiting usage of below 50 microns plastic in all commercial establishments.
There are over 50 small scale Chikki manufacturing units in Lonavala which use plastic for packaging their products. They have been issued notices not to use plastic for packaging. Some of the manufacturers have also started offering eco friendly jute bags in place of plastic bags. Around 500kg of plastic have been confiscated from Chiki manufacturers who have flouted the rules in the past few months. Six Safai Mukadams have been empowered to keep a tab on the offenders.
Scientific disposal of waste
As of today, there is no landfill site available with the Lonavala Municipal Council. We are in the process of getting the possession from the State Government of a land at Varsoli, one km away from Lonavala in the coming three months. Further to this, we are planning to go for waste to energy conversion by setting up a bio gas plant on the lines of the plant set up in the town of Chiplun through the efforts of various stakeholders–local government, elected representatives, private entrepreneurs and experts from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai.
The Chiplun Nagarparishad installed the Nisargrun Biogas Plant, with a five tonne capacity, at a local landfill site in November 2010. In the first stage, it was used for all lighting and operation of all machines at the landfill site; and in the second stage, it was used to cover the street lighting needs of an entire municipal ward. As the biogas plant needs wet garbage for operation, the proper separation of garbage is an essential pre-requisite.
The bio gas plant at Varsoli will utilize 10 tonnes of bio degradable waste to generate 400 units of power per day out of 25TPD. Over 115 hotels in Lonavala generate a lot of waste, which can be utilized for conversion to energy by setting mini bio gas plants/ kitchen bio gas plants.