The Ernakulam district panchayat has decided to take strict measures to check the unauthorised dumping of waste in canals and abandoned fields in various parts of the district.
District panchayat president Eldhose Kunnappillil said 150 tanker lorries had been permitted by the district to carry septage. “We will check how and where each of these lorries is dumping or treating the waste they collect,” he said.
Mr. Kunnappillil was speaking after a district panchayat meeting on Monday to discuss steps to curb the dumping of waste illegally in parts of the district. The meeting was convened after residents of Mulavukad burned a lorry that was bringing toilet waste to be dumped along the roadside early on Sunday morning. “The people took the law into their own hands. But how can you blame them? Sewage and septage from the corporation and municipalities are regularly being dumped in surrounding panchayat areas,” said Mr. Kunnappillil.
People from different parts of the district have complained about lorries arriving after midnight to dump toilet and other waste into open drains, canals, abandoned fields, and roadsides.
A similar problem persisted in Karukutty panchayat, said panchayat president Shiny George. “We asked the police to increase patrolling in the area. They asked us to give them the registration number of the vehicle dumping waste. But they always come after midnight and is difficult for us to catch them in the act,” said Ms. George.
Local residents often woke up in the morning to find toilet waste or meat remains from slaughterhouses flowing by their doorsteps. The waste dumped also regularly blocked canals, leading to severe health risks during the rains, said Ms. George.
The Mulavukad police have arrested the driver and cleaner of the lorry in which the waste was being carried. ‘Follow colour code’
Lorries carrying toilet waste must sport the mandatory colour code, Ernakulam Joint RTO Sadiq Ali has said. They must have a brown body, with highway yellow at the front and rear.
Lorries or tankers carrying water to construction sites and slurry from work sites too must abide by this colour code. Lorries that transport potable water must be painted light blue, with a white border, Mr. Ali said.
The words ‘Drinking Water’ must be painted prominently on all four sides, to ensure that they do not transport any type of refuse, or water meant for construction sites. Mr. Ali called for a change in attitude on the part of lorry owners and crew so that toilet waste and toxins were not dumped into water bodies and in thickly-populated areas.