The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bypass the bin, pay for your litter

This Puja, pandal-hoppers beware. If caught chucking Pet bottles, ‘chow’ plates or plastic cups, your Ashtami fun could be spoiled by a fine, as the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) embarks on a clean-Puja campaign.

Around 500 trash bins will be placed on main thoroughfares for passersby to dump their trash. The conservancy department is investing Rs 15 lakh — at a cost of Rs 3,500 per fibreglass bin — and the civic authorities mean business. They will make the errant Calcuttan pay for the litter, if they bypass the bin. Fast-food stalls, set up by the thousands during the Pujas, will be asked to place these bins near their shops.

“We will enlist the support of Puja organisers and NGOs to ensure that the bins are used,” said conservancy chief Mala Roy. According to CMC estimates, city roads and pavements are littered with about 100 tonnes of trash every day. The garbage graph soars on Puja days and that’s where the bins with swinging lids — not to be used for household junk — come into the picture.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been urging the CMC to instal such trash cans. The bank, which has provided Rs 1,245 crore for the development of the city’s drainage, sewerage and solid-waste management systems, has long been insisting on the abolition of open vats. There are now over 560 vats in the city, which receive around 2,500 tonnes of garbage daily.

“The ADB has promised Rs 160 crore to set up a new garbage-disposal system,” said chief engineer, conservancy, Arun Sarkar. A new system of fibreglass bins for garbage collection in residential complexes will soon be introduced as part of the CMC’s vat-free, ‘one-touch’ solid-waste management plan.

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