The famous temple town of South India, Tiruchirapalli, has been facing sanitation issues for long time now. The City Municipal Corporation along with a few self-help groups successfully launched a campaign to propagate sanitation, monitor residents’ behaviour and supervise maintenance of toilets. The Corporation is aiming at eradicating open defecation and providing better sanitary conditions in the coming years. In an interview with CIJ, Municipal Commissioner K Veera Raghava Rao speaks about the various sanitation and waste management programmes implemented in the city.
Sanitation has been a major issue with Trichy. The damaged septic tanks and broken drainage pipes have made the community latrines unusable, leaving people with no choice. Children use nearby drains or open spaces and women wait for nightfall… Even where toilets/urinals are in place, it is very difficult to maintain them, especially in areas like bus stand which has a huge floating population.
The Corporation has recently installed waterless urinals on trial in the central bus stand area. These urinals help save water and remain odourless. Unlike regular public toilets, the waterless urinals are directly connected to the drain and are equipped with a cylinder for filtration processes.
The waterless urinals are already in use in a few places in the country and we are looking at installing similar urinals across the city. At present, the Corporation has five urinals and are planning to install around 30-40 of them in the coming months.
“We are also trying probiotic treatment to check foul odour emanating from open urinals and toilets in public areas. This eco-friendly technology uses ammonia eating micro-bacteria, which is sprayed three to four times a day to control odour. The spray can be used to control odour in garbage. These measures are likely to be replicated in other parts of the city.”
Some of the public toilets built by the Corporation are given on lease to agencies, which maintain toilets by charging a user fee. It has also provided pay & use toilets and free urinals for men & women. The Municipal Corporation is also looking at options of toilets that can be maintained hygienically.
Srirangam and Jambukeshwar temples are the major tourist attractions in Trichy. On a regular day, the city witnesses around 25,000-40,000 pilgrims. Managing waste generated by this huge population is a challenging task.
The city generates around 432 metric tonnes of garbage everyday, of which the Corporation collects approximately 416 metric tonnes. This waste also consists of plastic bags and tea-cups. The Corporation collects a huge amount of plastic carry bags which are dumped in the garbage bin.
“We have undertaken a vigorous campaign of banning plastic below 40microns – tea-cups, glass and even bags. Recently, the Corporation came up with a concept called “Gold for plastic” at the annual fair held at Srirangam Temple. Around 50 collection centres were opened to encourage over five lakh pilgrims to deposit their plastic waste in return for a lucky dip token.”
Citizens are being made aware with widespread messages painted on public walls, at parks and gardens. RWA (Resident Welfare Association) and councilors are also educating citizens on the hazards of plastics and encouraging them in using the eco-friendly cloth bags. Citizens can also be motivated to segregate plastic and other waste by giving incentives. Rehabilitation of rag-pickers by providing incentives for segregating plastic waste and introducing two-bin system are other possibilities the Corporation can include. Plastic waste can be recycled, provided waste is segregated at the source. There is a plan to scientifically cap the Aryamangalam dumping ground.
Recently, Trichy Corporation launched an interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) to register complaints related to civic issues. A touch screen kiosk provides information on tax assessments, dues and payments, and details about birth and death registrations. This system also registers complaints with respect to streetlights, drinking water supply, road repairs and sanitation.