Disposal of leftover kindling, food key issue

As the city gears up for Attukal Pongala on Wednesday, the City Corporation is swarmed with applications from residents' associations, voluntary organisations as well as individuals residing in the festival zone for organising annadanam (mass free meals) for the devotees offering pongala.

The Corporation has already received more than 100 applications seeking permission to prepare meals for devotees. However, with the waste disposal issue remaining unsolved, the civic body is dealing with these applications cautiously.

“Permission for organising free meals on pongala day was made mandatory to bring in some control, and to keep a tab on the people organising such programmes. There is a whole range of issues starting from health, hygiene and food safety that needs to be taken care of. This time waste disposal is also a key issue,” a Corporation official said.

Corporation health officer D. Sreekumar said that the Corporation was giving strict directions on waste disposal to all those seeking permission to organise mass meals. “We are very strict about avoiding the use of plastic this time. Also we have directed the organisers to find their own means to dispose of the food waste as far as possible,” he said.

Landfills

Maruthoorkadavu Residents Welfare Association (MARWEL) chairman C. Manoharan Nair said that the degradable waste generated in the residents' association's area would be collected and buried in landfills in private plots. But, not all residents' association have the luxury to bury the waste in landfills. Most associations will be resorting to burning of waste owing to scarcity of vacant land in their area. “Since we do not have vacant land to bury the waste, we will have to burn it. However, the use of plastic will be avoided,” said Kaarali Eenchakkal Residents' Association secretary M. Sivakumar.

Though many associations have come up with independent waste management schemes, the City Corporation will still have to deal with around 70 loads of waste, including leftover kindling, food waste and plastic waste, on pongala day. Because of the agitation at Vilappilsala, all the collected waste will have to be disposed of within the city itself. “We have identified around five plots for land-filling garbage,” he said.