The pipe compost programme was launched to process dry domestic waste

‘Waste-free Maradu’, an ambitious programme to free the municipal area of waste heaped on the roadside and curb unsustainable waste disposal practices has ended up drawing a lot of flak from residents. However, the municipal authority has defended its programmes, launched about a year ago.

The municipal authority’s pipe compost, bio-gas and soon-to-be-launched bio-pots programmes are aimed at getting rid of waste generated by households and business establishments in a sustainable manner.

The pipe compost programme was launched to process dry domestic waste. The programme involves placing eight-inch, one-metre-long plastic pipes into the earth and covering them with ferro cement lids. Bio-gas plants use domestic waste to generate gas for cooking and bio-pots turn domestic dry waste into compost using bacterial solution or powder.

“The first phase of the pipe compost and bio-gas programmes is complete and the bio-pots programme will be launched in January,” said chairman of the municipality T.K. Devarajan.

He told The Hindu on Sunday that 175 households in the municipality were given pipe compost facilities. An equal number of households were being given bio-gas facilities, the package complete with a stove, he said. Around 300 bio-pots would be distributed to households starting January. Each of the 11,000 households in the municipality would have one of the three facilities for waste disposal by the end of 2013.

“The municipality will spend Rs. 20 lakh on the waste disposal programmes in the first phase,” said Mr. Devarajan. He claimed that the bio-gas plants set up in households under the programme generated enough gas for two hours of cooking daily.

However, residents’ associations have contested these claims. The associations’ office-bearers slammed the general lack of awareness of waste management among residents.

“These programmes still remain in words, unaccompanied by actual and effective implementation,” said K. V. Thampi, president of Pananghad Police and Residents’ Association. He invited this reporter to see how people, some of them highly educated professionals, dumped waste in plastic bags even on thorough fares in the municipality between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.

“People still resort to packing household waste in plastic bags and dumping them in public places when nobody is watching,” said Michael Kadamath, zonal secretary of Residents’ Apex Counicl Ernakulam (Race). It seemed as if residents took pleasure in dumping waste in public places, he said.

M.J. Lawrence, executive council member of Vijaya Bund Road Residents’ Association, said the programmes for sustainable waste management in Maradu municipality had not succeeded because of a lack of interest on the part of municipal council members. The municipal chairman said the implementation of the waste disposal programmes would come under fresh focus from January 3 when grama sabhas, the village-level bodies that identify projects, begin to meet. He said a fresh awareness campaign would be launched using the grama sabhas as a platform.