Current Affairs

While garbage gathers, MMC flounders

Margao Municipal Council has for the last many years been floundering over handling its garbage. What began as a garbage dumping site in the early 80s at Sonsddo when the place was a valley, has over the years turned into a hillock comprising of only garbage. And as the hillock grew in size the city fathers began crumbling under its weight.

What has emerged now appears to be that the Margao Municipal Council does not have the will to tackle the garbage problem and is acting mechanically to address this problem and whenever it suits them uses Sonsddo to justify its inaction.

This is evident when one looks at the status of the 12 composting pits constructed by the Council more than a year ago following a directive from the Goa bench of Bombay High Court. That these pits were constructed only because of the court order is reflected in Margao Municipal Council Chairperson Savio Coutinho’s statement wherein he states that he had doubts right at the beginning about the composting bins being used.

Although MMC spent Rs. 12 lakhs to construct these composting bins, for the last more than one year they are lying untilised and have turned into yet another garbage dumping site where squalor prevails and stray dogs play.

With the aim of making wealth out of waste, composting bins are meant for wet garbage that can be decomposed into natural fertilizer called compost. Only biodegradable waste is supposed to be dumped in the composting bins. However, at Margao all kinds of waste including plastic, silver foils, rubber and even glass is found dumped in the bins.

That the council is totally lost at sea over dealing with the garbage issue is evident in Savio Coutinho’s statements. He admits that the council has to commence door to door garbage collection to make the proposed garbage treatment plant at Sonsddo a success, but failed to start this programme at least on an experimental basis in areas where the composting bins are erected.

In a classic case of necessity being the mother of invention, the City Corporation of Panaji resorted to composting bins to handle its garbage menace and the exercise has been quite successful. Ironically, while admitting to Panjim’s success, the Margao Municipal Council has failed to learn from its bigger counterpart’s achievement.

With the municipal council elections fast approaching will the MMC at least do something now? Of will the people of Margao take its elected councilors to task at the hustings for their failure to deliver the goods? The answers to these questions will be known very soon.

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