Chennai: Even before the Union government’s Swachh Bharat survey started to identify the clean cities in the country, Chennai that finished a distant 36th position in 2016 was out of the race this year.
More than two lakh tonnes of unsegregated waste piling up at four sprawling dumping yards of Chennai without any scientific landfill site and the failure to construct new and maintain the existing toilet facilities in Chennai led down the capital city in the recent Swach Bharat rankings, confirmed highly placed sources.
The timing of enumeration by the union ministry immediately after cyclone Vardah and the public civic sense added to the existing chaos as a result the city slipped from the position it held to a distant 235.
“Chennai has been sleeping for years without segregating its waste and now there is no point in blaming the result or the authorities who evaluated Chennai,”
said N. Udayakumar, advocate, Madras high court.
Sixteen years have passed since waste management rules came in the year 2000, but nothing has been done to recycle waste. “The status of our toilets in Chennai is pathetic and even the ones maintained in Marina beach is an eyesore and I am not surprised by the rankings,” said civic activist R. Govindaraj of Exnora International.
While activists admit that Chennai needs acceleration and had been a sleeping without any improvement over the years the officers and the contractors removing waste from Chennai cry foul over the rankings.
The city lacks landfill and a zero waste management centre and thereby lost 20 points. Also, the enumeration was done in January when Chennai was limping after being mauled by Cyclone Vardah.
The enumerators had ignored the fact that a natural disaster had struck Chennai and the attitude of public littering streets also added to the poor rankings, admitted a senior corporation official.