CHENNAI: In the last week of April, the Gujarat civic body slapped a fine on a man for spitting on the streets. Although Chennai residents may get away with this offence, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has been actively penalising residents for dumping garbage and construction and demolition (C&D) waste in public spaces.
The civic body has collected Rs 1.43 crore for C&D waste and Rs 92.64 lakh for garbage from offenders since January 2017. In the fortnight between April 18 and May 1, 2019, a fine of Rs 3,77,000 from 754 places was collected for garbage disposal and Rs 6,48,000 from 324 places has been collected for C&D.
According to the penalty structure based on the Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules 2016 enacted by the Central government to regulate the management of solid wastes, GCC has been collecting a fine of Rs 500 for throwing garbage in public spaces and Rs 2,000 for dumping building debris.
“Solid waste is adversely affecting the city. It is a question of dignified living. We will further intensify the penalty drive this year. Already meetings are being conducted regularly on the issue,” said a senior Corporation official.
There are totally 15 designated dumping stations for C&D waste, one in each zone. When dumped anywhere else other than the station, Corporation levies penalty. However, industry players complain that they are not aware of these places.
“The SWM rules also state that the Corporation must publicise the provision of the laws through the media of signs, advertisement, leaflets, announcement on radio and television, newspaper articles and through any other appropriate means, so that all citizens will have the opportunity to become informed about their legal duties and about Corporation’s recycling, refuse and anti-litter services and fines. However, we do not know about anything. First, the Corporation must create awareness,” said K Balakrishnan, a builder.
Though the garbage issue has been taken care of, problems, like spitting and urinating in the public, must also come under scanner, suggest public.
“While the Corporation is already planning to intensify the garbage penalty drive, they must also take steps towards public nuisance like spitting. However, it is ultimately self-responsibility that brings the change, but accountability aids the change,” said R Menaka, a civic activist in Velachery.