Garbage collection slumps 17 per cent in Chennai during COVID-19 lockdown

Waste that is now being collected is restricted largely to the residential category to which a substantial quantity of sanitary waste, including used masks, has now been added

Published: 27th March 2020 03:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2020 07:37 PM   |  A+A-

Representational image | D SAMPATHKUMAR

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Just a day after the COVID-19 lockdown, the city recorded a 17% decrease in garbage collection, according to Corporation data. The quantum is expected to plummet further up to 30%.

The lockdown was brought into force from 6 pm on Tuesday. On Thursday, the corporation officials collected 3898 metric tons (MT) of garbage as opposed to the fortnightly average of 4700 MT collected in the month of March (March 1-15).

"This quantum of waste (3898 MT) is what reached the landfill on Thursday. The number is expected to go down further from tomorrow," said a senior corporation official.


Usually, the city's average waste collection hovers around 5100 MT of which 600 MT of wet waste and 280 MT of dry waste is processed. The remaining 4220 MT usually reaches the landfills.  

Since Section 144 was imposed in the state, most restaurants in the city have closed down due to people staying indoors leading to very few takeaway orders. In addition, malls, commercial complexes and most industries have been asked to shut down as part of the lockdown.

This being the case, waste that is now being collected is restricted largely to the residential category to which a substantial quantity of sanitary waste, including used masks, have now been added.

Corporation officials said that the quantum of increased sanitary waste as a separate category, ever since the COVID-19 scare in recent weeks, was not immediately available.

Sanitary workers diligently report to duty

While the waste generated may have gone down, collection has been going on as usual across all 15 zones in the city with sanitary workers diligently reporting for duty amidst the lockdown.

According to city corporation data, sanitary workers registered an 88.2% attendance with 14,291 workers out of the total 16,197, including permanent workers and those under the National Urban Livelihoods Mission scheme, reporting for work.

They have been instructed to maintain a one-metre distance from residents while collecting waste.

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