"People’s reluctance to pay the amount for a once-a-week collection, and to segregate and clean plastic themselves, have affected the scheme badly"

Discussions between the Corporation officials and representatives of Green Transit Renewable Energies, the Bangalore-based firm which will set up a pyrolysis plant for processing plastic waste here, will begin on October 18, Mayor K. Chandrika has said. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed for the transportation of clean, shredded plastic waste collected from houses in the city to the plant, which will come up at the Sathya Sai Gramam, Thonnackal.

The Mayor told The Hindu on Sunday that the shredder units at Palayam market could be made operational only if the resultant product was utilised. Until an agreement was reached with the firm, the plastic collected by Kudumbasree staff will be stocked here.

On October 2, in an inauguration held at the Chief Minister’s home, the first lot of plastic was handed over to Cleanwell units, who are being redeployed for collecting washed plastic waste from houses and also for maintenance of pipe-compost units. Nine wards in the city — Palayam, Nanthancode, Muttada, Vazhuthacaud, Muttathara, Sreevaraham, Kuravankonam, Kamaleshwaram, and Sasthamangalam — figure in this pilot project. “The residents will have to pay a fee of Rs.50 a month. However, an unanticipated issue cropped up. People are reluctant to clean the plastic for collection,” said Ms. Chandrika.

Her contention was supported by welfare standing committee chairperson Palayam Rajan. “This project is yet to take off in full swing and we need greater support from the public. It is a pity because we had launched this project with high expectations. People’s reluctance to pay the amount for a once-a-week collection, and to segregate and clean plastic themselves, have affected the scheme badly,” he said.

Health standing committee chairperson S. Pushpalatha added that surveys were still being conducted in these wards to get people to submit applications. They were also considering a more clear-cut policy on collection of compost. “Some houses do not grow vegetables or flowers. We will collect compost from them and sell it at low rates for agricultural purposes,” said Mr. Rajan.

However, general secretary of Federation of Residents’ Associations (FRAT) Parinayam Devakumar said that people were much interested in the scheme. “Many have already applied, but regular collection of waste is yet to begin. The project was launched only a couple of weeks ago, and it is too early to judge its efficacy,” he said.