Chennai: In waste management, Integral Coach Factory shows the way to Corporation

Favourable trash-to-worker ratio and better pay keep quarters clean; 90 per cent of domestic waste recycled or composted
A conservancy worker after collecting domestic waste at ICF  |  Express
A conservancy worker after collecting domestic waste at ICF | Express

CHENNAI: Ahead of the World Environment Day, civic bodies in and around Chennai have a lot to learn from the Integral Coach Factory, which launched its integrated solid waste management facility in January to handle the waste of its staff quarters.

The facility handles the waste of the four residential colonies, which are spread out in the industrial complex and house around 3500 families.

While the ICF follows the source segregation model like the Chennai Corporation, its streets are litter-free and there are no overflowing dustbins at the end of street corners. However, it is not the residents who deserve the credit for the ‘green campus’.

Around 120 conservancy workers have been employed to handle the six tonnes of domestic waste generated every day by the four residential colonies. Unlike conservancy workers of civic bodies, residents claim that the conservancy workers ensure every last bit of waste is collected and taken to the facility. “The workers bring their tricycles at 7 am every day and make sure all waste bags are collected,” said a resident of East Colony.

On an average each worker is responsible for handling only 50 kg of waste a day. In comparison, each of the 18,000 conservancy workers working for the city corporation is responsible for handling 315 kg of waste.

Officials in the ICF feel that this worker-to-garbage ratio is one of the key reasons behind the green campus initiative where upto 90 per cent of the domestic waste is either recycled or composted. Only the remaining 10 per cent reaches the Corporation’s landfill at Kodungaiyur.

“Each worker is given a responsibility. They work in teams and though the residents have been asked to segregate the waste, the workers ensure the biodegradable and non- biodegradable waste are separated at the facility,” said an official overseeing the solid waste management facility.  

Officials claimed that absenteeism of conservancy workers, which is an issue that plagues civic bodies in the Chennai metropolitan area, isn’t an issue at the ICF. A few conservancy workers at ICF attribute this unique phenomenon to the above-average contract pay for conservancy operations. “I get around `10,000 every month,” said Venkatesan, a conservancy worker. This is `4,000 more than what Ramky, one of the companies handling conservancy work for the city corporation pays.

EFI picks up 16 tonnes of plastic waste

Chennai: The Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) conducted a State-wide clean-up campaign on Sunday ahead of the World Environment Day on June 5. Volunteers of the Chennai-based NGO picked up trash from 18 water bodies.

This included several beaches along the ECR and lakes in southern suburbs. The Krishnam-pathy lake in Coimbatore and the Rameswaram beach also witnessed volunteers lining up at 7 am in the morning. Sticking to the theme of World Environ-ment Day — Beat Plastic Pollution — volunteers picked up more than 16 tonnes of plastic waste in the State. Around 35 per cent of the plastic was recycled and the rest was handed over to civic authorities. The EFI has bases in Chennai, Hyderabad, Puducherry and Coimbatore

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