HYDERABAD: Biodegradable waste wrapped in plastic bags has been the prime cause for chockages of nalas and storm water drains across the city. This came to light when Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) was desilting the city.
The corporation, after conducting a comprehensive study, found that more than 60 per cent of biodegradable waste is wrapped in plastic bags. To add to the woes, since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, face masks and sanitizer bottles are adding to the plastic waste.
GHMC officials have taken up desilting works at 356 locations over an overall 951-kilometre stretch. The corporation so far has found 30 percent of plastic waste, including masks and sanitizer bottles. It has excavated one tonne waste this year and the material composition has been ascertained. It was found that more than 30 per cent of the excavated heap from the nala comprised plastics, plastic covers, paper plates, water hyacinth, clothes and other materials. Apart from that were 40 per cent silt (earthen material) and 30 per cent of water (sewage and storm water).
When the corporation again conducted a comprehensive study, citizens living alongside open nalas have been dumping 60 per cent of biodegradable waste like vegetable waste and animal waste. Apart from this, the citizens have been wrapping non-bio-degradable products like sanitary napkins, which would turn into a hard substance and chock the free flow water during rainy days and inundate low-lying areas.
A senior GHMC official said that the corporation has taken desilted nala in two layers. He said that the first layer hardly had any silt with more than 30 per cent comprising plastic waste and 20 per cent comprising paper plates, water hyacinth, clothes and other materials.
"Ironically, the second layer has also seen 60 per cent of silt only. This has been the situation in the 951 kms spanning major nalas in the city", he said.
Explaining about the chockage, the official said that the floating plastic waste, including face masks, which have been entering into the passages near culverts and blocking the free flow of rainwater.
The chockage has been pushing back water into residential areas and causing severe inconvenience. Apart from spreading foul smell in the locality, the choked nalas affect the health of the residents, as they turn into mosquito-breeding centres, he added. "Despite plastic ban, several commercial establishments have been selling material below 50 microns which was clearly evident during desilting. This situation will end only if manufacturing units are closed. Situation cannot be improved as people lack civic sense", he added.