THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Attukal Pongala, believed to be the largest gathering of women in the world, creates record-breaking litter too. Till the evening of Tuesday, when the city’s footpaths and MG Road were taken over by womenfolk for the Pongala festival, the City Corporation was maintaining a silence on the issue. The Mayor and the Deputy Mayor promised that like always, the Pongala litter would be cleared off the streets within hours, but how and where to was not disclosed.
‘’We have identified places to burn away the litter generated. The temple authorities have already dug a pit on the temple premises. So, there is no need to worry,’’ a confident Mayor K Chandrika said. However, the temple authorities said that the pit was meant for the waste generated near the temple.
‘’What will happen to the waste generated elsewhere is not known. The Corporation has not made it clear,’’ Temple Publicity Committee convenor R J Pradeep said.
The Chief Minister, after a review meeting on the Pongala festival, had said that a separate meeting would be held to discuss the waste problem; but nobody cared to call a meeting.
Not just the waste created by devotees flocking to the city from all parts of the State, but the plastic waste that is generated owing to the mass food distribution by voluntary organisations and residents’ associations adds to the gravity of the issue.
The Mayor said that the Corporation was on track in dealing with the plastic issue, seizing plastic covers and strictly banning the use of plastic cups and plates for food distribution. And that there would not be any plastic waste to deal with.
If the claims of the temple authorities are to be believed, the city expects 35 lakh devotees to offer Pongala this year.
The amount of waste created by such a huge gathering, which usually results in an eight-hour-long cleaning drive by the 2,000-odd Corporation workers, is beyond words.
‘’We are prepared. We have identified two places for dumping the waste which, however, we would not disclose now. Apart from nearly 970 Corporation employees, some 1,700 workers have been called for the cleaning drive after the Pongala offering is over. The Kudumbashree Cleanwell workers, who are still jobless, have been called for the cleaning,’’ Pushpalatha, Health Standing Committee chairperson, said.
Deputy Mayor G Happy Kumar said that the drive would start soon after the offering at 2.30 pm and would continue till all the streets are cleared of the litter, even if it is 2 am the next day.
DOs & DON’Ts
* NO Plastic: The City Corporation has banned use of plastic in view of the looming garbage crisis.
* NO Hearths over tiled footpaths: TRDCL has made the request, to save the city beautification work.
* USE Cotton dresses: Synthetic or other polyester fabrics catch fire easily.
* USE Baked bricks: Unbaked ones cause pollution.