The city faces the biggest challenge of tackling the garbage issue. Now, the newly merged 11 villages add around 500 tonnes of garbage. It has reached 2,000 tonnes from 1,500 tonnes per day. The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) capacity to process garbage is limited.
The PMC used to dump garbage on open land of 163 acres in Urali Devachi, which was stopped in June 2010. Later, the civic body started processing garbage through six different ways and techniques. However, most of the processing plants are not working as citizens have objected to operation of these plants in their areas. On the other hand, the civic body is not getting new land to set up new processing plants.
At a recent meeting, newly-appointed Municipal Commissioner Saurabh Rao highlighted the garbage issue. He said garbage generation has reached 2,000 tonnes per day. It is a major issue and it has to be taken seriously.
Last year, the State government merged Lohegaon, Shivane-Uttamnagar, Shivane-Mundhwa, Hadapsar-Sade Satara Nali, Ambegaon Khurd, Undri, Dhayari, Ambegaon Budruk, Uruli Devachi and Fursungi into the PMC.
After the merger, the civic body’s area has expanded from 250.56 sq km to 331.26 sq km. A population of 2.78 lakh has been added to the existing population. The PMC has estimated an amount of Rs 2,229 crore for developing infrastructure in the newly merged areas. They anticipate a rise of 10 per cent per annum to the estimates amount.
The cost of garbage processing from these 11 merged villages is over Rs 100 crore.
While speaking to Sakal Times, Suresh Jagtap, Head of Solid Waste Management Department said, “Right now, the PMC is processing around 1,200 tonnes of garbage while the remaining is going to the landfill. In coming days, it will start a 750-tonne capacity of garbage plant and other small processing plants to tackle the problem. The municipal commissioner has taken up the issue on priority.”
“Opposition of local people to garbage processing plants is one of the major hurdles. So, we have to give thrust to small plants and their consistency. The garbage scenario will worsen if we cannot start taking action quickly. Moreover, the newly merged villages will also add to the garbage issue. Uruli Devachi and Phursungi villagers are threatening to intensify their protest against dumping of garbage in their area. Now, it is very difficult to get land from villages for garbage processing plants,” said a senior civic officer.
Meanwhile, the PMC has already bagged three awards including Vasundhara (Maharashtra Pollution Control Board), Skoch Digital Inclusion Awards (Delhi), and ICON award (Jabalpur University-Kolkata) for good solid waste management practices. Besides, it has got ISO-9001 certification and invitation from the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNDP) climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) for membership for best practices in solid waste management. As per the State government order, the PMC has worked as a consultant for other governing bodies.
The State government’s letter states that the civic administration should form a special cell, which will draft a detailed project report on garbage processing and solid waste management for other civic bodies in the State.