Source-level treatment of waste to be promoted

Committing itself to continuing with the practice of treatment of garbage at source in the capital city, the government on Tuesday made out a case for a small quantity of garbage to be taken to the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala for treatment.

This proposal was mooted by Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty during talks with the representatives of the Vilappil Samara Samithi and later at an all-party meeting on the garbage issue.

A large portion of the garbage generated in the capital city would either be treated at source or be buried in identified spots. However, there would still be some tonnage of garbage left out. This would be taken to Vilappilsala till the network of small treatment plants and large processing plants planned by the government became operational.

Samithi seeks time

Samithi representatives told the government that they needed five days to consider this proposal and to present it locally at Vilappil. Samithi representatives later told media persons that they would present the government's proposal to the people of Vilappil who would have the final word on the subject.

Briefing press persons on the talks, Mr. Kunhalikutty said the government viewed both sides of the problem—the suffering of the people of Vilappil and the garbage crisis faced by the capital city—with equal seriousness. The samithi representatives wanted an immediate and permanent closure of the garbage plant. The government's stand was that this was not possible and would only lead to a crisis in the capital city.

Over the last one month the culture of treating garbage at source had steadily caught on in the capital city. This would be continued. The police were also acting firmly against those who dump garbage by the wayside. The government believed that this alone would reduce by a great extent the quantity of garbage that needed to be taken away for treatment.

The government reportedly told the samithi that it would need a minimum of six months to have an alternative garbage treatment system up and running.

Package for Vilappil

The government and the City Corporation would work together to put in place a welfare package for the people of Vilappil. This would include drinking water schemes and health schemes, he said. The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere and the Samithi representatives appeared to have imbibed the issues as delineated by the government, he said.

Small plants

Mr. Kunhalikutty later told The Hindu that the government had more than a dozen sites in mind for setting up garbage treatment plants. These were areas where there was very low density of population. “The government does not wish to reveal the exact location of these sites,” he said.

Apart from a string of small-scale treatment plants, the government also proposed to set up a large treatment plant somewhere between Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam. Even if there were plants, a large-capacity plant was unavoidable, he argued. Once all these plants were up and running there would actually be a shortage of garbage to be treated, he claimed.

Meantime, a team from the Suchitwa Mission left for Germany on Tuesday to study the ‘cold mineralisation' technology for treating garbage. The government would take a final call on the technology after studying the report submitted by the team.

Meanwhile, the LDF parliamentary party in the Corporation council decided to call off its agitation in front of the Chief Minister's residence. Party leader V.S. Padmakumar said here that this decision followed the government's resolve to resume operations at the Vilappil plant.