Modern technology for waste management, pollution control

The Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries has extended financial support to the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation to help establish modern slaughterhouses. The comprehensive scheme involves contribution of 50 per cent of the cost in setting up modern plants, which is subject to a maximum of Rs.15 crore. At a meeting held here on Wednesday, Mayor K. Chandrika directed Health officials to prepare a project report for the renovation of the existing — but now defunct — plant at Kunnukuzhy and to set up mini-abattoirs.

With the closure of the sole Corporation-owned facility last March, illegal abattoirs have dominated supply of meat in the city, posing serious public health hazards. Also, in coastal areas where such establishments are the most in number, huge quantities of animal waste are being dumped in the Parvathy Puthanar.

This scheme emphasises on the application of modern technology for slaughter waste management and pollution control, the scientific and hygienic slaughter of animals, and more humane treatment during transportation. All these essentials are hardly followed by the thriving network of unauthorised centres in the city. Civic body officials have been reluctant to take action against them, for they do not have a viable alternative to offer instead. Mayor K. Chandrika said this scheme may take time to materialise but they would initiate the process very shortly.

As per the MFPI guidelines, the modernised slaughterhouse should include all machinery required for various slaughter operations, including overhead rails, conveyors, and shackles. Technical civil work should also include a cold storage, a power supply system and even services such as rainwater harvesting.

Another crucial point to note is that that waste treatment facilities have been prioritised as well, such as the rendering plant. This long-standing demand of the Corporation has remained on paper as the government sanction is yet to be granted for the proposal requesting Rs.2 crore, submitted over a year ago.

The project implementation expenses are also included in the ambit of the scheme. A Corporation official added that the Central assistance would facilitate setting up new mini-abattoirs at other locations such as Nemom. Moreover, rather than labelling them ‘slaughterhouse’, officials considered a title such as a ‘food industry’.

For the time being, the civic body will submit an application to the Pollution Control Board, seeking permission to open the existing abattoir for the purpose of slaughtering only goat. Since the main issue for the shutdown was the lack of means for waste disposal, permission for this is being sought as processing of mutton yields hardly any waste, a Health official said.