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Waste collection in a mess

The decentralised waste management initiatives of the city corporation have turned out to be ineffective as illegal waste collection operators are still thriving in the state capital.

Published: 13th March 2021 06:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2021 06:35 AM   |  A+A-

City Corporation’s sanitation workers segregating and disposing heaps of waste dumped by illegal waste collectors along the highway near Chackai in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. Everyday, these worker

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Illegal operators thrive in the capital, force shops and establishments to hand over garbage and then dump the same on highways and in water bodies. With just one night squad for all 100 wards, corp’s health wing not able to catch or fine them 

The decentralised waste management initiatives of the city corporation have turned out to be ineffective as illegal waste collection operators are still thriving in the state capital. According to the corporation’s health wing, multiple agencies even from rural areas are operating in the corporation limits, collecting tonnes of waste from poultry shops and commercial establishments and dumping them in public places and water bodies, causing a huge inconvenience to the public and sanitation workers. 

According to officials, an average of five vehicles are caught dumping waste along highways and in water bodies by the night squad of the health wing. However, the civic authorities are unable to book the offenders as most of them flee the scene abandoning the vehicles. It is learnt that worn-out pickup autos and two-wheelers without proper paperwork are being used for carting away waste. The corporation has only one night squad to cover all hundred wards. 

The civic body has roped in seven private agencies for carting away poultry waste generated in the city limits. An average of 12 to 15 tonnes of poultry waste is generated daily in the city as per its estimate. A senior official of the health wing told TNIE that the agencies deployed by the civic body are getting hardly four to five tonnes of poultry waste per day from the 246 poultry shops in the corporation area.

“These illegal operators are collecting less money from the shopkeepers and many of the traders hand over the waste out of fear. Our squad has been seizing vehicles and imposing fines ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000. But, unfortunately, we are unable to trace them because they don’t claim the vehicle back. They use worn-out vehicles and two-wheelers which are worth only a few thousand rupees. We are unable to book them as we fail to find the vehicle’s owner or enforce fine collection,” said the official. 

The civic body has allowed the approved agencies to charge Rs 5 per kg of waste from the establishments. 
“We have measured the quantity of waste generated at the shops and ensure that the waste is handed over to accredited agencies only. Many who are involved in these illegal operations consider this as livelihood,” said the official. With illegal operations becoming more rampant, the civic authorities are gearing up to step up night surveillance. “We are not getting enough support from the police. We have very limited resources and have only one night squad. The police ignore such vehicles even if they spot them during patrolling,” said another official. 

Many commercial establishments are forced to cooperate with these illegal agencies. “Many traders are scared and hand over their waste to these operators who are based in colonies within the city limits. They have political backing too and we sometimes get calls from the politicians asking us to let them go,” said a health official. 

Lack of health circle-level intervention is cited as one of the prime reasons for such illegal activities. 
“Licence renewal is being done by the circle office and intervention should happen there and the health authorities should make sure that the disposal of waste generated by the establishments is done scientifically or handed over to an accredited agency,” the official added. 



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