Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to take legal action against 10 local bodies for their failure to renew their authorisation under the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is about to take legal action against the 10 local bodies in the district, including Kochi Corporation, for their failure to renew their authorisation under the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, for collection, segregation, transportation and suitable disposal of municipal waste.

KSPCB sources told The Hindu that reports on non-compliance of municipal rules will be filed with courts falling within the jurisdiction of the local bodies concerned. Legal notices will be shot off to local bodies concerned leaving their secretaries liable for action under the Environment Protection Act. Priority for taking legal action will be based on the severity of waste management problem.

Violation of rules

Only Muvattupuzha municipality has applied for renewal of authorisation with the KSPCB, while the Kochi Corporation, Aluva, Perumbavoor, North Paravur, Tripunithura, Angamaly, Kothamangalam, Kalamassery, Maradu, and Thrikkakara municipalities have failed to do so. This effectively renders waste management systems followed by all these local bodies illegal and in violation of existing rules.

According to the Municipal Solid Waste Rules, the municipal authority or an operator of a facility shall make an application in Form-I for grant of authorisation for setting up waste processing and disposal facility, including landfills, from the State board. The validity of the authorisation is five years.

Warning not heeded

Authorisation of most of the municipal bodies had expired almost a year ago. The KSPCB had sent a letter last month to local bodies asking for a report on the present status of their waste management and to apply for the renewal of authorisation by the 10th of this month. Only Muvattupuzha municipality responded to the letter. Reports to be filed in courts will also mention the unresponsiveness of local bodies to the KSPCB direction as well.

For local bodies to receive the authorisation, the waste disposal facilities should comply with the standards set by the KSPCB. The application filed by Eloor municipality in the past for authorisation was turned down after their waste management method was found unsatisfactory.

Waste management is in shambles in many municipalities, while it is non-existent in some local bodies like Maradu.

Officials here admitted that they have no system for collection and disposal of waste from households except for collection of plastic waste, which is sold to a vendor. Officials cited limited staff and unaffordable prices as the reason land could not be purchased for waste treatment.

Municipal regulations

Municipal solid waste rules stipulate that local bodies should organise house-to-house collection of municipal solid waste through community bins (central bin) or house-to-house collection or collection on regular pre-informed timings.

The rules also call for collection of waste from slums and squatter areas or localities, including hotels, restaurants, office complexes and commercial areas. Waste from slaughter houses, meat and fish markets, fruits and vegetable markets, which are bio-degradable, should be managed scientifically.

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