Civic body planning to restart previously attempted waste disposal programmes in the city

City Corporation’s focus is once again on plastic waste treatment with the civic body planning an integrated approach towards disposal of the waste by restarting several previously attempted programmes.

The Corporations new approach is expected to bring about a sea change in the way plastic waste would be handled.

With biogas plants and pipe composts being used for disposal of biodegradable waste after the shutdown of the Vilappilsala waste treatment plant, the question of where all the plastic would go was remaining conspicuously unanswered.

One of the Corporation’s plans is to revive its last year’s programme to collect cleaned plastic waste from homes by Kudumbashree workers.

The Corporation will also put up the report of the Evaluation Committee, appointed during the last Council session to study the terms presented by the four agencies who offered to cart away plastic waste, for scrutiny during the next Council session on July 9.

“We will be clubbing this report along with a list of collection centres that have already been identified. To start off, we have listed points in the 40 wards where the ‘Bye-bye’ mosquito eradication programme is being currently carried out by the Kudumbashree workers,” said a senior Health wing official.

As per the Corporation plan, the Kudumbashree workers will visit each home to collect the plastic, help with the maintenance of pipe-compost or biogas plants by spraying innoculum to aid the decomposition process, and carry on with the mosquito eradication as well. This will be done for a nominal fee.

The programme, however, may face the same hurdle it faced last year in its proper implementation. Kudumbashree workers faced problems in collecting the waste when some residents failed to provide them cleaned plastic waste.

“But there were many who used to carefully clean and bundle together discarded plastic in the hope that workers would relieve them. But the problem was more seen in flats and what people finally ended up doing was just dump all the stacked waste. Collection may have had teething problems, but if the government and Corporation had kept at it, the campaign would have grown into a routine,” Federation of Residents’ Associations (FRAT) general secretary Paraniyam Devakumar said.

Plastic waste handling is an issue that city Corporation has been grappling with ever since the year began. It even resorted to means that were not strictly legal by barging into upmarket stores and creating a ruckus.

Nightmare

The ubiquitous nature of this material has proven to be a nightmare for the civic body as it finds its way into canals and even gets washed up along the shoreline of the city. Systematically collecting the waste will be coupled with the implementation of the hologram project that aims to effectively and legally bring down use of plastic carry bags.

“We could not confiscate plastic bags over 40 microns. Naturally, boycott of stores, earlier this year, led to battles with shop owners citing this rule and indicating that they do not keep anything below 40 microns. With hologram, we can legally take away bags not affixed with the sticker,” said a Health official. Centre for Development of Imaging Technology, the agency entrusted with the printing of stickers, have completed making around 10 lakh stickers, out of the one crore required.

A meeting with the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi would be held before this is implemented, said Health Standing Committee chairperson S. Pushpalatha. She also said raising the cost of carry bags to Rs.10 would prompt people to reuse old bags.