10/9/06 ,was indeed a unique day in my life, I spent a considerable amount of time at the Jawaharnagar garbage dumping yard, several kilometers away from the main city of Hyderabad , amidst heaps/mountains of garbage, unbearable stench and swarms of flies. Mr M Vedakumar,Mr Vijayachandra, Mr Suresh Bhandari of Sukuki Exnora, Dr(Mrs) Ajantha Perera of Srilanka [an authority in solid waste management in Srilanka and myself together visited this sight, which was organised by Mr.Vedakumar on behalf of Forum. I would like to thank Capt. J. Ramarao,Chairman of the Forum for suggesting a visit to this dumping yard. I now know where most of the garbage from the city is taken

Men, women, young boys and girls were doing one of the dirtiest of jobs for 365 days in the year so that the rest of us can live in a relatively clean and healthy atmosphere. There were some junior officials present as supervising staff, who have to go to the dumping yard everyday, as well as the lorry and tractor drivers. The rag pickers live in rows of huts a little away from the dumping yard. There life begins and ends only and only in an atmosphere surrounded by garbage and stench

The basic facilities that should be provided to these people is totally missing

I appeal to the Municipal Commissioner to provide some basic facilities for these service providers like the construction of half a dozen toilets and bathing areas with proper water connections regular supply of cakes of soap and liquid soap, gloves, canvas shoes and some drinking water facility

Do they not deserve this much for the service they are doing?

I would also like to tell one and all about the Sukuki Exnora. We first had a look at their centre in BS Maktha, where they segregate the garbage collected daily from in and around Greenland area of Begumpet, Hyderabad , which in turn is carried to the dumping yard

In the afternoon, we got an opportunity to visit the BHEL township, where the Sukuki Exnora is doing an excellent job as far as solid waste management is concerned

The garbage from 5000 residential homes in the township is being picked up and taken to the space alloted to them within the township. The segregation is being done by their staff. The women were doing their work happily as was seen from their happy faces and flowers in their hair. The men were also happily doing their work. We were told that they were sending their children to private schools so that when they grew up they would lead better lives

Recyclable wastes like plastic packets/covers, pet bottles, metal and paper was being separated and sent for recycling.Part of the biodegradable waste was being fed to animals and the rest spread in beds for composting and also for vermin-composting. We also got to see the earthworms being used for vermin-composting. The same compost and vermin-compost is then being used for the plants and trees in the township. There was no unbearable smell that would bother us

I suggest that similar kind of solid waste management should be introduced in several areas in and around the city of Hyderabad . The Municipal Corporation should allot small plots of land for this activity for a specified area and lessen the amount of garbage being carried to such a faraway place like Jawaharnagar and thereby cut down to a great extent the cost of transportation

Mrs.Sanghamitra Malik,
Solid Waste Management

Sukuki Exnora centre at BS Maktha,Greenlands,Begumpet :
Mr M Vedakumar,Convenor, Heritage Cell, FBH,
Mr Vijayachandra, Mr Suresh Bhandari of Sukuki Exnora,
Mrs.Sanghamitra Malik,Convenor,Solid Waste Management,FBH,
Dr(Mrs) Ajantha Perera of Srilanka [an authority in solid waste management in Srilanka

City garbage dumping site at Jawaharnagar

Workers at the '0'waste management centre at the BHEL township

Segregation of Plastic bottles from wastage.


Say  "NO" to Plastic Carry Bags

All Pervasive Plastic Bags
Thin plastic carry bag has become an intrinsic part of our lives and the urban landscapes. It is one of the most ignored environmental and health problems. Almost everyone including chemists, grocers, vegetable/fruit vendors, restaurants, fast food centers and super markets, put everything we buy in plastic carry bags, as they find it cheaper, easier and cleaner to get them. Even the temples give away "Prasadams" in them. The colourful plastic carry bags can be seen littered around carelessly. They cause more harm when they are strewn allover. But people, unmindful of their hazardous nature, are liberally accepting plastic bags and discarding them all around carelessly.

Hazardous Nature
Being non-biodegradable, they choke the earth for hundreds of years, making the soil unfertile, apart from polluting ground water through leaching of toxic substances. They choke open drains, sewer lines and even the stray cattle foraging them for food. The carcinogens - the agents which cause cancer-is likely to be generated during chemical reactions that take place in plastic materials, inter alia due to temperature variations. They are reported to enter human body, through food items like sambar, pickles, fatty or liquid items, packed in non-food grade and coloured plastic bags. The regular intake of such food items containing carcinogens, is very hazardous to health over a period of time. Though there may not be any immediate effect on health, it would be too late, once the effects of carcinogen start showing up, say after about 20 years.

Disposal of Plastic Waste
Basically there are three main routes for disposal/utilization of enormous quantity of domestic plastic waste being generated these days. One is incineration ie., burning under controlled conditions for reducing its volume and providing a stable landfill. The second is recycling of plastic waste, which may be difficult to recycle more times, hence the recyclability of the plastic bags reduces. Because of practical problems and the cost factor in segregation and collection, the domestic plastic waste is invariably disposed along with other domestic garbage, for dumping in open landfills, unmindful of its environmental consequences.

Reduction of Plastic Waste
In the light of environmental and health risks, the cost factors and other problems involved in the management of domestic plastic waste, it is desirable to reduce the quantum of waste generated, by minimizing the use of plastic carry bags and by reusing them in our daily lives. This can be achieved by increasing the thickness of carry bags, so as to make them expensive and to discourage their liberal dispensation, use and disposal. Then whatever is discarded will be collected by the rag-pickers because of their high value realization.

Government Initiatives

The Government of India, keeping in view various aspects of the problem, notified "Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules 1999" in September 1999 to regulate the manufacture and use of carry bags and containers made of recycled plastics.

The carry bags and containers made out of recycled plastics shall be marked as "Recycled" along with indication of the percentage of recycled material used.

Government of A.P. bans thin Plastic Bags
After taking into consideration various aspects related to manufacture and usage of plastic carry bags and their likely adverse impacts, the State Government issued G.O.Ms.No.25 dated 30th March 2001, restricting the manufacture and use of plastic carry bags.

With a view to discourage indiscriminate use of plastic carry bags, in urban areas in particular, and littering of public places, the following restrictions are imposed:

The manufacture of coloured plastic carry bags less than 20 microns in thickness is banned in the State.

The sale and use of coloured plastic carry bags of less than 20 micron thickness is banned in all shops and establishments in areas covered by Municipal Corporations and Urban Development Authorities in the State.

The use of carry bags or containers made of recycled plastics (coloured), for storing, carrying, dispensing or packing of foodstuffs is banned in the State.

The littering of public places like parks, playgrounds, recreational places, tourist centres, beaches, water fronts etc., with plastic bags is not permitted.

The carry bags made out of recycled plastics shall be marked as "Recycled" along with indication of percentage of recycled material used.

Levy of Penalties

The manufacturing units found violating rules relating to manufacture, recycling, thickness and marking, shall be fined Rs. 25,000 to 50,000 for the first offence. For subsequent offence, the license/consent shall be cancelled in addition to confiscating the machinery.

The retailers, vendors and other establishments found violating rules, relating to the use of plastic bags of banned category, shall be fined Rs. 2500 to 5000 for the first offence. For subsequent offence, the trade license of the violator shall be cancelled.

The individuals found littering public places shall be fined Rs. 250 to Rs. 500 per offence.

) The Member Secretary, A.P. Pollution Control Board, shall be the Authority for enforcement of the rules pertaining to manufacture and recycling of plastic bags.

b) The District Collector or the Municipal Commissioner concerned, shall be the Authority for enforcement of the rules related to the use, collection, segregation, transportation and disposal of plastic carry bags and containers. They are also required to enforce the rules pertaining to thickness and marking of carry bags being used by the vendors.

c) The religious worship places, health care centres, hotels/restaurants and other commercial agencies, are to ensure that the plastic carry bags of the banned category are not used.

Community Initiatives

As responsible citizens, we have to be serious about getting rid of plastic carry bags from our lives, without waiting for the Govt. to do something.

Carry a cloth bag or shopping basket or keep it in your vehicle.

Ask shopkeepers for paper bags and do not accept plastic bags.

Convince the shopkeeper or super market that you frequently visit to offer choice of a paper or plastic bag

Persuade your friends, neighbors and acquaintances to minimize the use of plastic bags

In case it is unavoidable to use plastic bag, do not throw it away along with domestic garbage

Carry a BAG and DO NOT bring home a CARRY BAG
Say NO to Plastic Carry Bags