Will Kerala prefer to follow suit or end up a smelly state and the breeding ground for the spread of all sorts of contagious diseases?

Why does Kerala not have garbage bins on its roads to prevent litteringPic : Marcin Białek, Wikimedia
news Thursday, July 07, 2016 - 14:17

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swacch Bharat campaign does not seem to have many takers in God’s Own Country. Travel the length and breadth of Kerala, and you get to see waste dumped all over the place. Nowhere will you find even a single waste bin on the side of the roads.

But yes, you will be greeted by sign boards which scream: “DO NOT DUMP WASTE HERE…YOU ARE UNDER CAMERA SURVEILLANCE.”

Corporations and municipalities do try and do their bit in door-to-door collection of waste and its disposal, which incidentally does not happen in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, due to a sore lack of a centralized waste treatment plant.

So where exactly do people dispose of the waste in the absence of public bins for the same?

Kochi -Kerala’s poster metro city- is one of the worst affected with its unscientific waste disposal planning. In almost every pocket road weaving in and out of the city, you are greeted by smelly garbage piled up on both sides….this, despite having a door-to-door waste collection method in place.

“Kochi has been declared a ‘No Bin’ city. If we provide a dumping site, rest assured, the people will fill it up in no time. Segregation of waste would then become an even arduous process,” says Vinodh –Kochi’s deputy mayor- while speaking to The News Minute.

“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 adds.

The deputy mayor however refuses to acknowledge the fact that people continue to litter the city with even more waste, giving Kochi a ‘dirty’ tag among visitors.

“The Brahmapuram waste plant does face many problems. The people who live nearby often protest and hinder the disposal of waste at the site. And well, everyone knows that the Kochi municipality did not accept plastic waste for several months. How long can we keep it at home, especially those who stay in flats. Moreover, decomposable waste is collected only once in two days….by that time, it gets infested with worms,” complains Gopinath Nair, president of a residents’ association in Kalamassery Municipality.

CPI(M) Ernakulam district secretary P Rajeev opines that people dumping decomposable and non-decomposable waste together in a bin, just tends to make it a more messy affair.

“Waste bins are needed, but dumping all kinds of waste in one bin hinders effective processing of waste,” Rajeev explains. He believes that it is indeed the corporation’s inefficiency that gets reflected in Kochi’s poor waste disposal mechanism.

Koikal Basheer -an environmental activist at Brahmapuram- however alleges that all kinds of waste get dumped together at the disposal plant there, though they are collected separately.

“The plant is definitely not a waste treatment plant, as claimed by both the Corporation and the Municipalities here. All waste –whether plastic or decomposable- gets dumped here. Then why do they need it to be kept separately?” asks Basheer.

In Thiruvananthapuram, the Corporation admits that people do litter the roads with waste and that there are a lot of lacunae in waste management by the authorities concerned, but it is not a proponent of waste bins at public places.

“Our motto is to promote the idea of disposing of the waste, right at its place of origin. All flats, homes, offices and shops should be equipped to dispose of the same. If public bins are kept, people will just end up dumping heaps of waste there,” is what VK Prashanth -Thiruvananthapuram Mayor- had to say to TNM.

The Corporation in the capital city has plans to install aerobic waste bins that are capable of transforming waste to compost in every home.

But would such steps effectively stop the public from littering the streets? Separate bins for both decomposable and non-decomposable waste are provided in public places in many other cities of India.

Will Kerala prefer to follow suit or end up a smelly state and the breeding ground for the spread of all sorts of contagious diseases?


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