The Rain Gods have relented and the city of Chennai has received some respite from the severe drought that reared its ugly head in June this year. But, a herculean task awaits the city to make the environment clean, green and healthy.
Keeping our city clean is imperative for keeping citizens healthy. Our health depends not just on nutrition and personal hygiene but also on how clean we keep our communities.
Here are some tips Chennaiites need to follow during the monsoon season.
1. Compost Biodegradable Waste
Composting biodegradable waste provides an alternative to farmyard manure. This provides residents with an opportunity to reduce waste in the city. You can convert kitchen waste like vegetable and fruit scraps, eggshells, coffee sediments, tea bags, non-liquid cooked food waste, bones, stale bread and biscuits, tissues and paper towels into organic manure. This is used for enriching nutrient-deficient soil, and also has the advantage of being weed-free and rich in organic carbon and nitrogen.
To compost at home:
- Select a shady, dry spot that’s near a water source for your compost bin.
- Use brown and green materials like dead leaves, twigs, small branches and grass clippings.
- Add collected waste materials and moisten them if dry.
- Bury the kitchen waste under 10 inches of compost material (browns and greens).
- When the material at the bottom is dark in colour, the compost is ready for use.
- This usually takes a period of two months to two years.
2. Prevent Stagnation of Rainwater
Residents are now saving water through roof-top rainwater harvesting (RRH), which is implemented in apartment complexes and individual houses. This involves storing a part of the rainwater that falls on the roof of a house. The stored water is collected into a recharge pit, which reaches the soil and recharges the aquifer. Water is also directly collected into sumps and barrels for later use. But stored water could lead to algae overgrowth and mosquito breeding that poses a risk to public health by the spread of infectious diseases
To prevent rainwater stagnation:
- Residents should use the stored water as often as possible.
- Use dark coloured barrels for water storage and empty it once a week to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Keep direct sunlight off the barrels to prevent bacteria and algae growth.
- Cover water storage areas with fine screens to keep leaves, twigs and rodents from entering.
- The roof and gutters should be cleaned regularly and the rain catchment area should be free of debris and organic matter.
3. Eliminate Open Defecation
Even today, people are seen defecating in the open. This has resulted in the spread of infectious diseases like malaria and diarrhoea. To prevent this impediment in the city, we need to change our mindset, behavioural patterns and educate others about the health hazards caused by open defecation. People should be encouraged to use public toilets provided by the Corporation and also practice good hygienic habits to prevent the onset of diseases.
4. Prevent Sewage Water Stagnation
The responsibility lies for residents to make sure that waste is collected and emptied in their respective street’s bin. Hazardous waste, dry waste and non-biodegradable waste have to be disposed of in the right way without contaminating public areas and water bodies. Residents can also seek help from the Corporation to desilt stormwater drains, canals and waterways to prevent inundation during very heavy rains.