Efficient garbage disposal is a huge challenge and heaps of plastic waste strewn across many of the less crowded, crossroads of Kochi is a common sight. With the Kochi Corporation not collecting refuse for the last five days, the problem has only got aggravated.
When asked, why the city has no dustbins to keep the roads clean, the Corporation’s answer was that they follow the practice of door-to-door waste collection. But apparently, the system followed by the Corporation seems to be failing for the last few years.
After the agitation by the public on Thursday, the Corporation cleaned some roads by gathering the waste. But what was the root cause for the public angst?
Kochi Corporation Deputy Mayor B Vinod seemed to suggest that there was much hue and cry about a non-issue. “It was nothing, there is no issue of waste in Kochi. We couldn’t collect waste for last few days because some road works were going on. Now it is all cleared,” Vinod told The News Minute (TNM).
“Our door-to-door collection method has been found to be effective. A few of the huge waste-dumping places that you see are actually waste-transfer spots, where the waste gets properly segregated en route to the Brahmapuram waste treatment plant,” he added, declaring that the city is well-equipped to deal with the waste.
But the Corporation’s version is apparently a lie and a cover-up to hide the reality, according to a few activists.
In the first week of June, a verdict of the Southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had termed the Brahmapuram Waste Treatment Plant built by Cochin Corporation as illegal. It also directed Kerala Pollution Control Board (KPCB) to prosecute the officers concerned.
Activists allege that this verdict was the major reason to stop waste collection and not the road blockage as claimed by the Corporation. Activists who were protesting against the Brahmapuram waste plant said the Corporation should realize that they have destroyed a whole village with this unscientific waste dumping procedure on the banks of water bodies, which are also a source of drinking water for the natives.
“So they can no longer dump plastic waste in the plant located at Brahmapuram. It is completely illegal; the plant is located on the banks of two rivers. So it is their propaganda, without collecting waste they intentionally create problems to resume dumping plastic waste here,” Basheer Koikal, a local activist from Brahmapuram said.
“Complete waste produced in the city, house waste, dead bodies of animals, septic tank waste and plastics are dumped in this village, where they have 100 acres of land to dump hundreds of tonnes of waste daily. City people just want their waste to be taken away out of sight, but they don’t think what happens next,” Basheer added.
TNM has written about the pathetic condition of Brahmapuram village.
On the flip side, people in the city who depend on the Corporation to take away the waste, ask what other options do they have.
“For the last few months, plastic waste collection was not regular. People dump waste on roadsides, what else they should do, if it is not collected. Most of the people here stay in flats and apartments located in a small area of land. Where will we treat it? It is a complete failure of the administration,” said Rajeev Kumar, president of one of the resident associations in Kochi.
Brahmapuram activists meanwhile say that they would move legally until the area is cleaned and waste dumping is stopped.