Wells in the immediate vicinity of the dumping place were getting contaminated with waste water seeping into the ground water

As Malayalis across the globe eagerly welcomed King Mahabali on Thiruvonam day, Thrikkakara, by legend the abode of the virtuous King, continued to raise a stink and its residents face serious health hazards from a system of waste disposal that is almost as old as the story of Onam.

The Thrikkakara municipality has no proper waste disposal system and the municipal authority continues to dig pits using earthmoving equipment to bury waste filled in plastic bags.

Office-bearers of residents’ associations in Thrikkakara say the municipal authority does not even bother to segregate bio-degradable and non-degradable waste before burying it.

The Ombudsman for Local Self-government Institutions had directed the municipality to stop dumping waste in the open space near the municipal office from March 31. But the municipality simply buried the waste so that it would not be seen strewn around as before, said an office-bearer of the residents’ association.

He said that wells in the immediate vicinity of the dumping place were getting contaminated with waste water seeping into the ground water.

Denying this accusation, municipal chairman P.I. Mohammadali said that the Ombudsman had not banned dumping of waste but had merely asked that a compound wall be constructed, which the municipality had done. He reiterated that the municipality had made arrangements to dispose of the waste at the Kochi Corporation’s solid waste treatment plant at Brahmapuram from next month.

The residents also accused the municipality of not operating its plastic shredding unit properly and not taking effective follow-up measures to ensure the success of biopots introduced for treatment of organic waste at the source of generation.

Mr. Mohammadali admitted that the plastic shredding unit was not functioning as planned. He cited the lack of space for storage of shredded plastic as the reason for the situation.

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