RAYAGADA: Solid waste management is a burning issue for Rayagada Municipality. But burning of garbage has turned out to be another serious issue. Even as burning of garbage is strictly prohibited under pollution laws, the practice goes unabated in Rayagada.
In several localities, workers pile up the garbage from the street and burn it. Sometimes, the burning causes inconvenience to residents and passers-by. In fact, if the burnt garbage contains plastic, it’s even more dangerous. People, already facing dust and vehicular pollution, will have to put up with this unhealthy practice as well.
Sources said the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has made the burning of garbage an offence under Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. In 2011 and 2012, it had issued guidelines to all civic bodies mentioning that the municipal officials concerned are the authority for enforcement of the norms relating to use, collection, segregation, transportation and disposal of plastic waste.
Later, the Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi had evolved ‘Action Plan with Indicative Guidelines for Plastic Waste Management’ which can be a guiding document for safe and environmentally sound disposal of plastic waste.
District Congress Committee president Durga Prasad Panda alleged that irresponsible dumping of waste in the ecologically fragile wetland by the civic body has caused irreparable damage to the environment and eco-system. Mosquito and other flies breed in the waterlogged area while rodents thrive on the heaps of waste posing pollution menace and health hazard, he added.
It has been observed that indiscriminate littering, unorganised collection system and non-bio-degradability of plastic waste have led to several environmental issues time and again such as choking of drains, making land infertile, death due to ingestion of plastic waste by cattle and releasing toxic emission due to uncontrolled burning.
Regional Officer of OSPCB, Rayagada, Mitrasen Majhi said the Supreme Court has banned the use of polythene bags below 40 micron. Use of such polythene is very high in Rayagada, particularly by vegetable and meat vendors. When polythene bags are burnt, they release toxic gases like dioxins and furans which have deleterious and ill effects on health and the environment, he added.
At present, the town generates 24 tonnes of domestic and other waste everyday which is dumped near three acres of land near Burdapalamma temple. A 12-acre dumping yard has been identified near Antariguda on the outskirts of the town while there are five unauthorised dumping yards under municipal limits.
When contacted, Executive Officer (EO) in-charge Suryamani Pattajoshi expressed his ignorance about the unauthorised dumping yards but assured that action will be initiated.
Municipal Chairperson V Gouri Jayanthi said steps would be taken to ban use of polythene and littering of the bags.