Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eateries put on pollution watch

Eateries put on pollution watch

But the decision has not gone down well with the units, which feel they are a green industry

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore



Every day, Bangalore generates about 3,500 metric tonnes of garbage, a large quantity of which comes from hotels and restaurants.
To control the generation of waste in the city and to protect the environment, the government has now decided to bring even the small hotels and restaurants under the purview of stringent environment norms.
For the first time, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), has issued a notification dated November 4, 2009 making it mandatory even for small hotels to treat waste products before they are disposed of and effluent treatment norms have to be followed too. Presently, hotels dump waste in sewerage lines or hand it over to the corporation.
The MoEF amended the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, to include small hotels — with at least 20 bedrooms, banquet halls with minimum floor area of 100 square metres and restaurants with minimum seating capacity of 36 — under its purview, to maintain the effluent standards. The notification stated that the rules of maintenance come into force from the date of publication in the official Gazette of India, dated November 4, 2009.
The KSPCB has decided to give some time to these units to adapt. Speaking to DNA, KSPCB chairman, AS Sadashivaiah, said that it was important to get the smaller hotels to comply with the environmental norms as well.
"It is for the first time that these sectors have been included. We will issue a circular to all establishments in this sector and give them time to prepare for the pollution check so that the air and water quality can be maintained. If they fail to maintain the standards even after that, action will be taken against them. KSPCB officials will survey such units to find out the amount and type of waste being disposed. We will support them to increase their chimney height; items like oil and grease must be neutralised before being released into underground drains," he added.
However the decision of the authorities has not gone down well with the units. According to the president of the Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association, KN Vasudeva Adiga, small hotels and restaurants are like an extension of homes and are listed under the green category. This means that they are not a polluting industry and thus should be excluded, Adiga said. The number of 40-seater restaurants in Bangalore is around 1,000 and of 20-bedroom hotels is around 500.
"So far we have not received any intimation. Once it comes, we will request the central and state governments to exclude these hotels as the waste generated by them is organic in nature and the quantity is also less," he added.
Managing director of Ebony Hotels, Rajesh Rajaram, said that restaurant waste is similar to household waste. Since restaurants are small units, treating waste before disposal is difficult. However, he said that when all houses start treating wastes, restaurants would also follow suit.

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