THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ever since the Vilappilsala waste treatment plant was shut down owing to protests from local people, waste disposal has turned to be a major issue in the city. The failure on the part of authorities to come up with an alternative solution or a space to dump and treat the waste has only added to the woes.
The waste issue is compounded by the fact that there is a considerable increase in the number of apartments in the city.
Though the flat owners and associations repeatedly approached the corporation seeking a solution, the requests fell in deaf ears.
And the aftermath is that a large amount of waste is being dumped on water bodies and roadsides. The unscientific disposal of sewage waste has also led to the contamination of water bodies. With just a month remaining for monsoons to start, there is a possibility of a disease outbreak.
Squads on the prowl
The waste dumping is so rampant that certain residents association in the city have formed squads to nab people who dump waste at public places.
A week ago, the members of a residents association at Pippinmoodu near Sasthamangalam caught three people who arrived with an autorickshaw full of waste to dump in the
Killi river. Though the city corporation deployed squads to nail such offenders, the practice continues unabated.
V S Midhun, a resident, said a sizable chunk of waste collected by garbage collectors ends up in vacant sites or drainages,
where they are set on fire. "Not just blocking the drains, the combustion releases harmful gases too. For proper and effective waste management in apartments, we need to reduce the generation of waste. There are several alternatives for disposal of waste. We earmark space for cultural activities and parties in an apartment, but sadly not for waste treatment. It is a shame," Midhun said.
However, a few highrises in the city do have facilities for waste treatment. According to a leading builder in the city, there are biogas plants to manage waste from his apartment.
"We have provisions to convert organic waste to fertilizers. Some flats have incinerators. But, it is true that many apartments don't have a proper waste treatment mechanism", said V P Sajith, secretary of a flat association at Akkulam.
Corporation sources agree. They said many apartments lacked such mechanisms, and are hugely responsible for dumping waste at public places and water bodies.
Mayor V K Prasanth said strict measures are being taken against those who dump waste at public places.
" Primarily, we give approval to the apartments only after verifying whether they have a dedicated waste treatment mechanism. If any apartment is found to be lacking it, we give all facilities, including subsidies for setting up a system.
Strict action will be taken against the violators", said Prasanth.
Disposal begins at home
Education and awareness: Education and awareness in the area of waste and waste management are increasingly important from a global perspective of resource management. It is important to educate and create awareness among residents, garbage collectors and garbage contractors on proper waste management.
Segregate before you throw: Make a habit of dropping things or wastes in four separate containers.
Stop generating waste: The consumption of more resources results in the generation of more waste. The three ways to eliminate or stop generating the waste are 'Reduce, Re-use and Recycle. Reduce is buying less and using less, Reuse is using elements of the discarded item again and recycle is creating new products from discarded ones.