Managing city waste: Chennaiites, have your say


Pic: Indi Samarajiva [Representational image from archives]

Efforts to tackle the burgeoning solid waste crisis looming in Chennai have gained momentum.

With the city generating a whopping 4500 tonnes of garbage on a daily basis, measures to tackle the growing challenges of waste management began with an attempt by the Corporation of Chennai to revive source segregation last year. The attempt has seen lukewarm response with only 40 of the total 200 wards having implemented varying degrees of segregation.

This was followed by the ambitious announcement of the Tamil Nadu government that the state would ban all plastic products beginning January 2019.

Now, the people of Chennai can have a say in the solid waste management practices of the city. The Corporation of Chennai has published the draft Solid Waste Management bye-laws, 2016 in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, calling for the urban local bodies to codify the provisions of the rules.

Some key provisions of the bye-laws that are likely to impact citizens are as follows:

  1. The  Corporation of Chennai will now levy a user charge for collection of waste, that is to cover the cost of operations and maintenance. The monthly charge is determined based on the property tax slab.


  1. Various punitive measures have been introduced to deter citizens and establishments from irresponsible handling of waste. The range of fines in the provisions extends from Rs.100 to Rs 25,000 for various violations. The punitive measures shall come into force after a 30-day period for familiarisation, after the bye-laws come into effect.


3. Households will be expected to segregate and store the waste generated by them in three separate streams: biodegradable, non biodegradable and domestic hazardous wastes in suitable bins. Waste thus segregated must be handed over to authorised waste pickers or waste collectors.

4. All resident welfare and market associations, gated communities and institutions with more than 5,000 sq m area and hotels and restaurants have one year from the date of notification of these rules to ensure source segregation of waste and collection of segregated waste in separate streams. The recyclable materials must be handed over to either the authorised waste pickers or the authorised recyclers. Provision for composting or biomethanisation within the premises must be set-up as much as possible. This will be used to process, treat and dispose of biodegradable waste.

5. Any event or gathering of more than one hundred people at an unlicensed venue can be held only after intimating the local body at least three working days in advance. The organiser(s) of the event must ensure source segregation of waste and hand over the segregated waste to  the waste collector or agency as specified by the local body.

6. All garden and horticultural waste from respective premises must be sorted and stored within the same premises and disposed of according to instructions from the local body. Failure will result in fine of Rs. 1000.

7. All construction debris is to be stored separately within the premises and disposed of as per the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016; the latter states that the waste must be segregated into four categories – concrete, soil, steel and wood, plastics, bricks and mortar, and handed over to the local authority or designated processing facility.


Your voice matters!

The public have 30 days from the date of notification,  until July 19th, to send in their comments and suggestions to the Corporation of Chennai by post.

Postal Address:

Corporation of Chennai

Ripon Building,

Sydenhams Rd, Kannappar Thidal,  Periyamet,  Chennai- 600003

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About Aruna Natarajan 183 Articles
Aruna is an Associate Editor at Citizen Matters. She has a BA in Economics and a PG Diploma in Journalism. She has also worked in a think-tank on waste management policy and with a non-profit in sport for development. She writes on civic issues, governance, waste, commute and urban policy. She tweets at @aruna_n29.


  1. GCC must impose practice of carrying ones own bags, water, drinking glass n cutlery. High level of fine for littering and not segregating garbage. No smoking & No littering sign boards in every 25 meters is a must. Wet waste should be composted by every individual.RWA should be given permission to fine the littering, non segregating residents and smokers heavily.Remove bins from all Roads.The entire city should be a bin free city.

  2. It is a very great idea and each individual must be with this coming to be change.

    Government should show alternatives first if in any situation….citizens can not escape from doing the thing like exceptional cases.

    The authorities and committee members for these type of activities should be well educated and must be having social responsibility so that they can eliminate the wrong things in their roots itself.

    Appreciate your efforts for starting with this type of ideas, just go ahead

    Looking forward for a better future

  3. It is a very encouraging proposal, provided the rules apply to every resident irrespective of his/her political affluence. It is very disheartening and at times frustrating to see that people who should be setting an example are the offenders,and no action is taken against them.

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