Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXI No.7, July 16-31, 2021
A recent article in The Hindu had it that attempts to implement waste segregation at source in the city have come to nought. Well, not nought, for it seems around 42 per cent compliance has been achieved when it comes to separation of dry and wet organic waste, inorganic waste, and construction debris. That by itself may not seem a bad number, but what follows in the article is clearly a greater source of worry.
Apparently while segregation remains at 42 per cent, collection of garbage is now at 95 per cent and the city is generating around 5,000 tonnes of waste every day. Which effectively means the civic body, and its sub-contractors are doing a good job of removing waste and transferring it to whatever disposal systems we have (last heard of these were not anything to write home about, being chiefly landfills). The citizenry on the other hand, while content with handing over whatever rubbish it generates, cannot bring it upon itself to segregate the same. At least 58 per cent of it cannot. In this category fall households, commercial establishments and above all, bulk waste generators, who as per definition create more than 100 kgs of waste each day.
What prevents the Corporation of Greater Chennai from imposing fines on these violators? Political will apparently. If the same report is to be believed, local officials, including conservancy operators are ‘unable’ to punish offenders and can at most issue ‘hollow warnings’. As to what prevents them from taking punitive action has not been spelt out, but it can easily be imagined – on the one hand there is corruption – it is easier for a violator to dole out small amounts in bribes and not take on the larger task of segregation, the seriousness of which in the macro scale of things they do not realise or even if they do, do not want to rectify. There is also the attitude of being above the law – it is seen as a sign of power.
This month, the price of a litre of petrol crossed Rs. 100 while that of diesel touched Rs. 95 in many parts of Tamil Nadu. The hike in fuel prices has been steady and steep – for instance, in January, petrol cost Rs. 88 per litre in Chennai and diesel, Rs. 81. For an economy struggling to make a comeback from covid losses, this has been a further blow.
Karthik Bhatt has written an article on When NSK was awarded the Kalaivanar title. The event took place he says in a reading room in Thiruvallikeni and we thank Sampathkumar Srinivasan for identifying the place and sending us photographs of it as it appears today. These are published alongside.
“Only the ostracised can understand other ostracised people’s needs and pains. We fed them, treating their suffering as if it were our own,”
‘Rags’ Raghavan was one of S. Muthiah’s proteges. He was sent on assignments all across Chennai (sorry Chief, we meant Madras) to photograph this, that and the other. He remains a keen photographer and among other things he focuses on the quirky, of which there is no dearth in our city. This photograph was taken on Tambaram Road.