Waste disposal crisis spills over to Corporation facility

The waste management crisis in the city acquired another dimension on Monday with a section of workers at the civic body's abattoir at Kunnukuzhy resorting to a lightening strike against the veterinary surgeon's decision to bring down the number of animals slaughtered.

The workers and certain licensed meat stall vendors opposed the move initiated by veterinary surgeon A.S. Bijulal to deal with the animal waste disposal issue at the abattoir.

It was earlier decided to limit the number of animals slaughtered and certify one animal each of licensed meat vendors instead of certifying all animals.

According to Dr. Bijulal, the decision was taken in consultation with Corporation officials and the meat vendors. “In fact, we had held talks with them a week ago and they had agreed to it. But, on Monday, suddenly they joined with the workers to oppose the move,” he said.

“For the last five months, after the closure of the Vilappilsala treatment plant, we have been land-filling all animal waste in the abattoir compound. But now, we have reached a saturation stage and land-filling is no more possible. I have also received complaints from nearby residents' associations on the stench and health issues created by the disposal of animal waste here. That is when we decided to limit the number of animals slaughtered,” Dr. Bijulal said.

The wages of workers would go down if the numbers re restricted, Corporation sources said. Kunnukuzhy ward councillor Mary Pushpam said the Corporation and abattoir authorities were making lame excuses and encouraging illegal slaughterhouses.

“There are around 155 licensed meat stalls, of which only less than 10 bring their animals for certification here. By limiting the certification of animals, the Corporation is only encouraging illegal slaughterhouses,” she said.

Ms. Pushpam said the issue of waste management raised by the abattoir authorities was not genuine as the meat vendors had agreed to take back the animal waste. “But they are not willing to accept that,” she said.

Dr. Bijulal said it was not possible to give back animal waste to meat vendors as the Corporation was not sure of how they would dispose the waste.

There were reports that animal waste which are not edible being used to make eatables like cutlets. Even if they do not use it, there is no guarantee that they will dispose it in a proper manner,” he said.

Mayor K. Chandrika said if the crisis at the slaughterhouse continued, the Corporation may have to close it down. “We had submitted a proposal to install a ‘rendering unit' at the slaughterhouse to convert animal waste into dog feed. This proposal is gathering dust at the KSUDP office. If we are faced with such negative attitude from all quarters, we may have to close down the abattoir,” she said.