Worsening waste crisis in Thiruvananthapuram

With inoculum supply disrupted, household waste management has gone haywire in many parts of the city. Many residents complain that the changing systems are confusing and may lead to illegal dumping

Published: 07th June 2022 05:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th June 2022 05:55 AM   |  A+A-

The community waste management unit at Jagathy in Thiruvananthapuram. Disrupted supply of inoculum — an essential component for household and community waste management — is worsening the waste crisis

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: City residents are finding it tough to manage household waste due to the mismanagement by civic authorities. With the corporation failing to maintain a steady supply of inoculum, which is a biological material essential for accelerating waste disposal, the much hailed source-level waste management at hundreds of households in the capital has been hit. 

With the waste treatment plant at Vilappilsala shutting down, the corporation is struggling to sustain the decentralised waste management initiative. As many as 53,000 kitchen bins were distributed among residents after the corporation launched the much-hyped waste management project. The aim was to ensure the management of solid waste at its source.

As per a survey carried out by the civic body itself, hardly 10,000 kitchen bins are functional and the rest of the distributed bins are lying unused. As the corporation failed to carry out the plan, people using the kitchen bins effectively have landed in trouble.

“It’s been a couple of weeks since the supply of inoculum has been disrupted. We approached the councillor and the civic authorities regarding the issue. However, now they don’t even pick up our calls. Earlier, waste management was a real issue in our ward due to garbage dumping in public places. We all stepped up and started using the kitchen bins, which resolved the issue to an extent. Around 3,000 houses are using the facility in three corporation wards — Manacaud, Kuriyathi and Sreevaraham. Now all of them are in trouble. People will start dumping waste in public places soon,” says Sreekantan Nair, a Manacaud resident.

In an effort to make the system more effective, the civic body has started deploying Haritha Karma Sena for door to door collection of non-biodegradable waste. However, this transition is not going well with a section of the residents where the waste management was happening effectively earlier. 

“We need a consistent system. Currently, the arrangements for waste management are changing constantly. It was so difficult for us to get adjusted to the icocculum system. We started segregating waste and were getting good support from the service provider. But now, they are changing the system and the inoculum supply has been stalled. We are not properly informed about what is happening,” said Shyam Lal, secretary, Payattukkuppam Residents Association. 

A senior corporation oficial said the inoculum supply at Manacaud Health circle was disrupted due to some objections raised at an audit. “The service provider showed an increased count of inoculum than required, which came under an audit. We had to stall its supply because of that. We have identified several other issues with the service provider. The issue would be sorted out soon,” said the official. 

He added that the civic body has formed Haritha Karma Sena in 76 wards. “Around 66 wards have been registered under the plan. The rest of the 21 corporation divisions will be covered by private parties, who have rendered exceptional service in the past two years,” said a senior official of the Corporation health wing. 

New solutions
The civic body has also installed around 441 aerobic bins at 62 locations in different parts of the corporation for scientific handling of household waste. Unfortunately, many of them are lying defunct because of the lack of maintenance. This is while the state capital generates an average of 353 tonnes of waste daily.

There are more than 2.9 lakh households in the capital and the corporation now plans to bring at least 50,000 of them under source-level waste management. The plan is to install kitchen bins and deploy Haritha Karma Sena for non-biodegradable waste collection from households in 79 corporation wards. 

“We plan to strengthen the existing source-level waste management system with the help of Haritha Karma Sena. We have placed an order to purchase 10,000 more kitchen bins. We will buy 15,000 more bins this year. Around 40 per cent of the household will come under the project once it is implemented,” said the official. The civic body has also purchased portable aerobic bins for community waste management. 

“We are also planning to set up more Thumboormuzhi aerobic bins for community waste management. There are certain challenges including unavailability of land, public resistance,” the official added.

Plans galore

2.9 lakh households  are in the city   

53,000 kitchen bins distributed among residents 

10,000 kitchen bins are currently functional

50,000 of these will be under source-level waste management project developed by the corporation

10,000 more kitchen bins will be purchased soon by the corp

76 wards under the corporation have the services of Haritha Karma Sena


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