A few months ago, MMC has been able to implement door-to-door collection in Mungul, Madel and Aquem with plans to cover more wards in the future. The Sonsoddo Solid Waste Management Processing Facility receives around 50 to 60 tonnes of assorted mixed waste which is treated and turned into manure.
While bio-medical waste is handled by individual hospitals using incinerators, bio-degradable waste from hotels, eateries and households is treated at the Sonsoddo plant. A scientific capping project of Sonsoddo garbage dump yard (which is pending approval) is likely to be taken up shortly in a step to curb the ill-effects of negligent garbage dumping. The cost of the project following a cost analysis is projected at Rs7.32 crores. There have been suggestions from the Ministry of Environment and Forests against scientific capping citing the State’s low land holding. Further, the landfill cannot be put to efficient use due to the low quality mixed garbage dumped for over two decades. A meeting involving all the stakeholders has been planned to bring the project to a conclusion.
The concessionaire of the Sonsoddo plant was instructed to stop open dumping at the said site for failing to comply with the specifications and standards specified in the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB).
GSPCB directed the concessionaire to construct, operate and maintain a weighbridge at the plant to monitor the quantum of waste brought to the landfill. The board also wanted the company to install bailing machines to bail the non-recyclable waste.
The company now has to carry out regular ambient air quality monitoring to check odours. It has to repair the secondary refined trammel and the stationed crane. The records of the quantum of waste handled treated and disposed have to be maintained as well. Necessary provisions for the management of leachate collection are also to be in place.
Door-to-door garbage collection in all the wards will be accelerated with more workers being added to the present strength of 360. Each ward has around 30 workers allocated for its maintenance. Outsourcing is also looked upon to suit budget needs. Requests have been made to the government for allocation of more funds, so that the planned proposals can be carried out.
To encourage segregation, the Council has provided two bins to all households in the city. This has reduced the issues of rag-pickers and stray dogs strewing rubbish on the roads. All the garbage bins will soon be removed and placed in wards on the basis of requirement, so that people give their garbage to the Council workers only.
To improve the sewage system in the city, work on the construction of additional facilities has also been started as part of the Goa water supply and sewerage project aided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
South Goa Collector ND Agrawal has been supporting various cleanliness initiatives like plastic free drives, designating non-smoking zones, etc. Grants are provided for manufacturing cloth bags that can substitute the plastic bags.
The Council has been creating awareness through pamphlets fliers, documentaries and videos on cleanliness and hygiene. These are distributed to everyone from ward boys to councilors. Our solid waste management programme states that each ward has to have over 40 such awareness programmes for the public, per year. To help support the programmes, environmentalists, NGOs, faculty from educational institutions are roped in.
Crunch in manpower, especially skilled manpower is the biggest hindrance in implementing new programmes. Efforts are on to motivate the workers and boost their morale. Important information on handling different kinds of waste especially hazardous waste is dispensed.
There is also ‘Chalo School Abhiyaan’ through which importance of cleanliness and sanitation is being introduced to the students. There are colour-coded garbage bins kept at school for different kinds of waste.
One factor which has helped Margao on cleanliness drive is the active participation by citizens. To ensure that the efforts of the public at segregating garbage is not wasted, provisions are being made to deploy smaller pick-up trucks that will see that the garbage is not mixed before reaching the plant. We are trying to work with rag-pickers to come directly to the plant for segregating waste. A reach-out programme is being carried that will have the rag-pickers work in tandem with the council to keep the city clean.
Though MMC has been planning various projects, implementation has been rather slow. A proposal has now been made to install cameras in the market areas to monitor waste collection and disposal among other functions. Another important area to keep track of is the contacts given out by the Council. The councilors have to provide with a satisfactory work completion certification within six months for settlement of claims. The cleaning of drains, clearing of bottle neck of rivers and under-bridges before the monsoon has paid off; even after heavy rains there was no flooding in the city this monsoon.
The council is considering procuring smaller road sweeping machines as the bigger ones purchased earlier cannot be deployed on narrow roads.
Waste collection and treatment
A technology that converts wet waste into manure in an hour is being considered by the council. This will allow in collection of wet waste from various establishments, its transportation as well as treatment. This technology can be made mandatory for housing societies who often fail to have proper waste management facilities in their structures. The waste convertor manufactured by Excel Industries Ltd comes in three models of 25kg, 50kg and 125kg per batch. The output time is about 15 to 20 minutes. The manure can be used by the establishments themselves or can be sold to the council.
Tourism and beautification
The city is famed as a tourist attraction so various drives have been taken up to protect the environment while maintaining the cleanliness too. A plastic free drive involving school and college students was taken up in February at the Collectorate; where thousands of bags from public places including beaches and other tourist attractions were collected and disposed off.
To beautify the city, the MoEF has been requested to maintain the dividers in the city. The Council is now working on beautifying the Powerhouse circle, where flowering plants, barrier free foot paths and handicap savvy amenities will be provided. The South Goa Collectorate has won awards for being handicap friendly.
The municipal garden and parks are maintained by the Council workers. A unique feature about the parks is that all the toilets built in the premises are fitted with air-conditioners. These toilets were built using MP Local Area Development Scheme, and have been appreciated by locals and tourists alike.