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Waste crisis grips Capital

Ever since the pandemic outbreak, waste disposal has gone out of gear making the capital vulnerable to communicable diseases.

Published: 30th June 2021 06:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th June 2021 06:44 AM   |  A+A-

The Thumburmoozhi model community waste management facility at Karamana, has been shut down due to a lack of maintenance. Accumulated waste can be seen stacked up at the facility | BP Deepu

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A large number of aerobic bins lying defunct. Health wing blames engineering wing for not maintaining Thumboormuzhy bins promptly. Pandemic and lack of centralised waste treatment mechanism also cited as reasons

Ever since the pandemic outbreak, waste disposal has gone out of gear making the capital vulnerable to communicable diseases. A majority of the aerobic bins installed by the city corporation to manage solid waste as part of the much-hyped decentralised waste management project are in ruin, pushing the capital into a deep waste management crisis. The dry and solid waste movement has been severely hit during the pandemic. It is learnt that Thumboormuzhy aerobic bins in around 20 out of the 43 locations require emergency maintenance. The state capital generates an average of 353 tonnes of waste every day. 

The lack of a centralised waste treatment mechanism is one of the prime reasons for the ineffective waste management in the city. Owing to stiff protest from the part of the public, the civic body adopted the policy to manage waste at the source. However, lack of maintenance and apathy have derailed the existing waste collection and disposal mechanism adopted by the civic body. Meanwhile, the health wing is blaming the engineering wing of the civic body for the defunct aerobic bins.

A senior official of the health wing said, “We are responsible for the management of waste generated in the city. Routine maintenance and installation of aerobic bins should be done by the engineering wing. Unfortunately, we are not getting any support from the engineering wing. Even if we report maintenance work, they don’t address the issue immediately. By the time they address them, more aerobic bins would be needing maintenance. We have taken up this issue with the mayor and the standing committee. We want the maintenance work to be done within a week of reporting.”

The official said emergency maintenance of the bins is required in 20 locations in the corporation area. With the waste crisis becoming severe, the civic body has given an ultimatum to the engineering wing to carry out the work immediately. Health standing committee chairperson Jameela Sreedharan told TNIE that waste management is slowly getting back on track. “Waste management has been severely hit by the pandemic. The system has been busy fighting the pandemic and now we are trying to revive and strengthen the existing system. Maintenance work is underway,” saidJameela Sreedharan.

She said dry waste management has resumed. “We have started removing accumulated dry waste and soon a household-level collection of dry waste will begin,” she added. Meanwhile, efforts are on to install 70 new aerobic bins in 10 new locations. The plan is to complete the work within three months. An official of the engineering wing said they have to follow routine procedures to take up maintenance work and that might have caused the delay. “We completed maintenance work of 63 bins last March. Work inthe new locations is underway and would be completed in a time-bound manner,” the official added.

Illegal service providers on the rise
Complaints are rising from many wards regarding the dumping of waste on byroads and in water bodies. The divisions coming under the Chalai health circle are one of the worst-hit by the issue. Chalai ward councillor Simi Jyothish said the waste crisis remains unaddressed in her ward. She alleged that the service providers roped in by the civic body, instead of carting away waste, are dumping the same in her ward. 

“We don’t have vacant land to set up Thumboormuzhy bins. Waste is getting dumped everywhere in my ward and residents are complaining. Some of the byroads are filled with waste. Even the Kudumbashree workers roped in by the civic body are not handling waste properly,” she said. She said the issue has to be addressed on a priority basis as it is putting public health at risk. Jameela admitted that the illegal dumping of waste in water bodies and public places is rampant. “This is being done by illegal service providers who collect waste from households after collecting a service fee. We have initiated steps to curb such illegal activities by enforcing source-level waste management. The service providers would offer support to the residents for managing the kitchen bins provided by us for source-level waste management,” she added.

Stinking menace
Thumboormuzhy aerobic bins in 20 out of the 43 locations require emergency maintenance
Complaints rising from many wards regarding the dumping of waste on byroads and in water bodies
Efforts are on to install 70 new aerobic bins in 10 new locations



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