CHENNAI: Don’t be surprised if you soon find an electric vehicle at your residential gate to collect garbage. By December 2019, all tricycles and pushcarts used by conservancy workers of Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to collect garbage will be replaced by battery-operated vehicles and light commercial vehicles, confirmed a senior official of GCC.
Chennai has 15 zones with nearly 12 lakh houses. According to the Solid Waste Management department, the city generates close to 3,200 tonnes of garbage daily. The garbage is collected directly from households using a pushcart or tricycle and then this waste is collected from bins in 15 zones and split between Chennai’s two dumping yards — Kodungaiyur and Perungudi.
“The battery-operated vehicle will collect garbage from about 600 houses and go straight to micro-composting centres or parks with mulch pits to dispose of the wet waste. For dry waste, we have 64 resource recovery centres and are planning to add a 100 more. We are working out on a low-cost technology model to deal with the non-saleable dry waste which accounts to about 500 metric tonnes per day. This way, waste is managed effectively and efficiently, at the same time improving the dignity of conservancy workmen,” said the official.
The city will get about 2,800 to 3,000 vehicles at a total cost of Rs 60 crore approximately. Each vehicle costs Rs 1.80 lakh. Chennai currently has ten battery-operated vehicles in two zones — Valasaravakkam and Perungudi. “The vehicles can cover a distance of 50 kilometres on one charge. It can function for six hours daily which means that it can conduct multiple waste collecting rounds throughout the day. It will also lessen the time taken per round, doubling the number of households covered each day,” said the Corporation official.
This move will be a great boon to the conservancy workers who are currently forced to segregate waste with their hands.
“We have to agree that nobody likes to put their hands in the garbage. As public lack the sense of waste segregation and proper waste disposal, most of the times we are dealing with blood-soaked sanitary napkins, rotten meat infested with worms, and broken alcohol bottles. This is why our job is looked down upon. With the introduction of battery-operated vehicles, even we can live a respectable life,” said P Ramanan, a conservancy worker in the city.