THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the state government stress on centralised projects in waste management, the local bodies are continuing their experimentation with decentralised projects. Latest in the series is the Thiruvananthapuram City Corporation’s decision to open up a material-recovery facility (MRF) at Pattom ward for non-biodegradable waste management as part of its ‘My city, beautiful city’ project. With this, the MRFs in the city has risen to 35.
“The corporation is not against centralised projects. With no option available at present, we have to move towards decentralised projects including MRF. Our waste treatment plant at Vilappilsala had to be shut down owing to local protests. Even now the centralised project being mulled at Peringamala village is facing uncertainty as protests have started to erupt against it,” said Rakhi Ravikumar, deputy mayor, Thiruvananthapuram Corporation.
Last August, in the backdrop of unscientific disposal of waste and garbage in the state, the state government had mulled the idea of initiating a major overhaul in waste management practices as it toys with the idea of ensuring private sector’s participation in it.
Under this, private players with proven expertise in the field will be allowed to set up modern waste management plants. Then in June, the government came out with the idea of establishing seven solid waste-to-energy (WtE) systems in the state- Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kollam and Malappuram districts.
At the same time, Suchitwa Mission opines that if the menace of waste management has to be addressed in an effective manner then centralised and decentralised projects have to go in tandem. According to it, the centralised projects were being pitched at urban areas and the plants thus established are meant only for treating urban refuse. The plants that will function in an environment-friendly manner will work in tandem with the respective Local Self-Government Institutions(LSGI).
“Land scarcity is a major issue in Kerala. The location of waste management plants has always a challenge. Above all, we have to tackle local protests. It is in this backdrop that a decision to set up WtE plants in the state has been taken. The plan is such that the waste generated within a distance of around 25 to 35 km of the plant will be collected and transported and then it will be treated,” said an officer with Suchitwa Mission.
Meanwhile, LSG Minister K T Jaleel said that considering the situation of the state, one cannot move forward with a single solution and thus centralized and decentralized projects are the need of the hour. When asked about the protests being raised against centralized waste management plants, the minister such that it is out of a misunderstanding that the people were objecting the same and added they will ‘amend their stance as soon as they come in terms with the proposed state of the art treatment plants of international standards’.