The City Corporation has decided to take steps to reduce the volume of garbage being taken to the treatment plant at Vilappilsala in the wake of mounting protests against the operation of the facility.

The Corporation had issued notices to hotels, hospitals, commercial establishments, and apartments in the city, directing them to come up with alternative arrangements for processing solid wastes generated there.

Garbage collection by Kudumbasree Clean Well Units will be withdrawn from these institutions as part of asking commercial establishments and apartments to set up independent waste-processing units. The move sparked protests from apartment owners who pointed out that apartments do not fall under the category of ‘commercial establishments' and garbage collection by Kudumbasree units should continue.

“Since apartments fall under residential category the Corporation will have to take the responsibility of treating the waste generated from apartments, just like other households. We cannot deal with the garbage issue if the Corporation suddenly decides to stop garbage collection,” said Apartment Owners Association of Kerala secretary A.M. Panicker said.

The Corporation subsequently suspended the notice (served on apartments) for some months.

“The notice was issued based on a decision taken by the Corporation Council. Although we issued the notice, the Corporation is not planning to impose the decision on apartments,” Corporation Secretary K. Biju said.

“We know that garbage collection from apartments and flats cannot be withdrawn. Discussions will be held with apartment owners, waste management technology providers, and other stakeholders to find innovative solutions,” he said.

The Corporation will extend support to residents' associations and apartment owners who are willing to set up independent waste-management units. The Corporation will continue to collect non-biodegradable wastes, including plastics and bottles, from apartments, he said. Corporation Health Officer D. Sreekumar said that a recommendation made by the Corporation to make mini waste-treatment plants compulsory for flats and apartments with 40 or more dwelling units was under the consideration of the State government.

“As part of decentralising garbage treatment we have also launched a project to promote homestead-level garbage processing units. The Corporation is also looking for land in the newly annexed panchayats to set up mini treatment plants,” Mr. Sreekumar said. The Vilappilsala Janakeeya Samithi will launch an indefinite agitation against the plant from September 18. Samithi president S. Burhan said agitators would block the Corporation garbage trucks as part of the agitation. “The people of Vilappilsala cannot take this anymore. We are not ready for any more compromise. The Corporation should shut down the plant,” he said.