HALF THE PANCHAYATS PULL IT OFF, HALF NEED A PUSH

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October 13, 2014 at 12:56 pm #5612

Will Goa be able to implement the directives on proper segregation and disposal of its garbage by December 19, 2015?

So far, 95 panchayats have joined the mission of collection and segregation of plastic waste, and the remaining 95 panchayats are yet to be pull in.

Even though the state generates 400 tonne of plastic waste daily, of which 30 per cent is recyclable while the rest 70 per cent is non-recyclable and includes empty milk packets, small plastic sachets and plastics of below 40 micron thickness, the total plastic waste collected during the last one year – from August 2013 till September this year is said to only 800 tonne.

According to data available with the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Cell, since August 2013 till the September end, the highest plastic waste collection was done by the Ponda Municipal Council, which collected 154 tonne of solid waste, and the second highest plastic waste collection was done by Penha de Franca panchayat, which collected 151 tonne of solid waste.

Other panchayats which collected solid waste are Sanvordem panchayat – 5kg, Casne-Amere-Porascadem -3kg, Amona – 19kg, and Cudnem – 21kg, and Siolim, Allorna, Ozarim, Pilerne-Marra, Assonora, Dhargal, Betalbatim, Warkhand-Nagzar panchayats -between 20-60 kg.

Chairman of Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) Jose Manuel Noronha said that the collection of plastic waste has increased from 4 tonne last October to 125 tonne this September, and added that it is expected that the cell would reach its mission goal prior to the deadline, by May 2015.

Noronha said that it takes a period of 6 month for a panchayat to get acquainted with the process of collection and segregation of plastic waste, and hence slowly the number of panchayats joining the mission of plastic waste collection is increasing, and we are confident of achieving our goal.

After the eight months of awareness campaign on mission ‘Plastic- free state,’ the SWM Cell attached to the Department of Science and Technology has succeeded in convincing half of the village panchayats to join the mission.

Explaining the strategy adopted in motivating 95 panchayats despite an earlier negative response, an official of the SWM Cell said that “we were positive in our approach, and made regular follow ups through phone calls with the panchayats convincing the bodies to join the mission.”

The official said that, “we also met the sarpanchas, and thus ended up in convincing 95 panchayats.”

Though the SWM Cell could make 95 panchayats to join the mission, still the local self governing bodies are not supplying the required quantity of plastic waste of 500-600 kg a day.

“Many a times we refuse to lift the solid waste as some of the panchayats collect plastic in small quantities – just 2-3 bags. Some local bodies collect mixed waste. It is not economically viable to transport small quantity of waste as we have to shell out Rs 45 per km. Rs 20,000 is spent on transporting the plastic waste to cement kiln. So, the minimum required quantity of plastic waste is around 500-600 kg,” the official added.

Commenting on the delay in getting the remaining 95 panchayats to the join the mission, he said that that the SWM Cell found that the panchayats blame the locals for opposing the garbage treatment plants, and cite difficulties in acquisition of land, engaging labourers and getting funds to purchase the waste bins, besides the lack of space to store the waste.

He said that some panchayats complained about the dimensions of bins in which garbage from domestic bins is dumped. In some panchayat areas, the villagers themselves refused to lend their support for the cause.

He further said that to overcome the financial constraints faced by the panchayats, we approached several industries like Sesa Goa, Zuari Industries, EMERC, and JSW, asking them to provide support to the local bodies under the CSR programme in purchasing the required equipment, and the companies have agreed to do so.

A source said that it is difficult to convince the panchayats and added that most of them are unwillingness to start door-to-door garbage collection.

He said that the SWM Cell has held a series of interactive meetings with the representatives of the panchayats along with the local MLAs.

The door-to-door collection of garbage has been initiated in some wards of the villages, however, the optimal efficiency is yet to be achieved, he added.

It is very common to see plastic waste lying uncollected, often mixed with human and animal excreta on the streets and in and around the drains. The situation is going from bad to worse in the remaining 95 village panchayats with garbage being thrown on hills, roadside drains, etc and the panchayats are not making any concerted efforts to face the issue head on.

No doubt, there is a sense of frustration among the MLAs and the locals over the inability of the panchayats in tackling the garbage menace that is plaguing the state.

Source/Reference: Navhind Times, “HALF THE PANCHAYATS PULL IT OFF, HALF NEED A PUSH

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