KANNUR: The handling of slaughterhouses and poultry waste is one of the biggest hurdles local bodies face when it comes to waste management.
Kannur will not face the problem for long. The district is all set to become the first in the state to achieve the status of "poultry waste-free district."
For, a joint project by Haritha Keralam Mission (HKM), Suchithwa Mission and district administration to set up rendering plants in the district to deal with poultry waste has been resurrected and is about to start functioning soon. An official announcement is expected in January 2022.
"The main reason behind indiscriminate dumping of wastes from slaughterhouses in rivers, canals and vacant plots is the demonic grip of the mafia dealing with waste. They collect waste from chicken shops and other slaughterhouses and dump it wherever they want," alleged Dr P V Mohanan, coordinator of the project for setting up of rendering plants.
"For the mafia, it is a gold mine. The district produces around 45 tonnes of slaughterhouse waste daily. To collect it from each shop, the mafia charges Rs 7 per kg. During festivals, the amount of waste generated goes up and the mafia hikes collection fee to Rs 12- Rs 15," he said.
Since the practice was causing headaches for local bodies as rivers and waterbodies were getting polluted, the government started thinking about a project to handle waste generated from slaughterhouses. Mohanan, who is a retired assistant director of the animal husbandry department, presented the idea of setting up rendering plants. When the idea was accepted, he was tasked with coordinating the project .
The project was launched and two rendering plants were set up in the district – one at Pappinisserry with a capacity to manage nine tonnes of waste daily and the other at Mattannur that could manage 35 tonnes. However, lack of coordination between slaughterhouse owners and local bodies allowed the mafia to throw a spanner in the initial stage of the project, said Mohanan.
Since the first attempt was a failure, the government decided to act and ordered local bodies to tie up with the rendering plants. Now, a district-level monitoring committee has been set up with District Collector S Chandrasekhar as chairman.
Following strong intervention from the district administration, 55 panchayats and seven municipalities in the district have signed an agreement with the rendering plant at Mattannur.
"Once the project becomes functional, we will be able to control the illegal collection of poultry waste from slaughterhouses," said HKM district coordinator E K Somasekharan.
Mohanan said the transportation of the waste to other districts and states should not be allowed. "The license of chicken shops and slaughterhouses that refuse to hand over their waste to the rendering plant will be cancelled," he said, adding that the private agency that runs the plant would be allowed to charge a fee from every chicken shop and slaughterhouse from where waste is collected.
The collected waste will be recycled in the plants and the recycled product used as fish meal, said Somasekharan.
The HKM and Suchithwa Mission will jointly organise a training camp for chicken stall and slaughterhouse owners on the project. Guidelines for implementing the project have been finalised by the government.
"Once the project becomes functional, Kannur will become first poultry waste-free district in the state and, perhaps, the country," said Mohanan.