Total plastic ban! Not in reality

Need state-of-the-art plant to treat plastic waste

Namma Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) may claim to have banned plastic completely in the city. But the reality is in total contrast to what the authorities boast of. Nearly 30-35 tons of plastic makes it way to the segregation plant at Vidyaranyapuram, almost every day.

When City Today went to the segregation plant for a reality check, it was in for a shock. Just a few hundred metres away from the plant, there were mounds of plastic strewn all over. But those at the helm of affairs say use of plastic has been banned totally. When they were contacted, they were at loss of words to explain if Mysuru is totally free of plastic.

Every day, the garbage segregation plant treats about 150 tons of garbage, dumps about 30-35 tons of plastic in the backyard of the plant as it doesn’t have the state-of-the-art technology to treat it.

The plastic usually requires the refuse derived fuel plants which convert plastic into tar, diesel and other forms of fuel. But these plants require the heavy and specific machines which take three long years for installation besides heavy investment that goes with it.

 “Definitely, plastic has a cascading effect on the environment as it does not decompose on its own. It could also lead to water percolation unsettled in the coming years. Used Plastic will remain in the same condition if not treated properly. The plants which we have currently can’t treat plastic which convert plastic into ‘refuse derived fuel’. The plants that treat plastic need more infrastructure and funds. Not only Mysuru, Bengaluru or any other city in Karnataka does not have plants to treat plastic waste. We can only find such plants abroad,” said Vasanth Kumar, environmentalist, in response to a question by this newspaper.

Mayor B L Bhyrappa was more cautious in his comment. “We are aware of the menace but we do not have any solution as of now. Many companies offered such plants us to and we have also identified 12 acre of land specifically for this purpose. But we couldn’t proceed further as the companies demanded a 30-year contract. MCC has a provision to offer a contract only for five years. We have sent a request to the state government for its approval for such a long-term tender.”

Currently, Mysuru produces about 350-400 tons of garbage every day, of which 150 tons of garbage goes to the garbage segregation unit at Vidyaranyapuram and rest to the seven zero waste management units in the city. IL & FS Environmental Infrastructure and Services Limited is currently monitoring the garbage segregation plant at Vidyaranyapuram since 1999. Initially, the plant had a capacity to treat about 100 tons of garbage every day and has been upgraded to 150 tons.

Mayor begs to differ

Speaking about the 30 tons of plastic being collected everyday despite the ban, Mayor B L Bhyrappa said, “I would not agree that all the collected plastic is from Mysuru. We received a complaint that a few trucks carrying plastic waste from HD Kote and Nanjangud were dumping at the Vidyaranyapuram plant. We have taken steps to stop the menace.”

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