Some home-based units forced to burn waste on terrace

Households in the city are struggling to dispose of their food waste. Ever wondered about the plight of those in the home-based catering business, which deal in huge quantities of food?

Many of these units, which function in congested residential localities, cannot depend on household-level waste treatment methods — such as pipe compost and biogas plants — because of the sheer volume of waste they produce.

A catering service owner, who has a unit on the top floor of his house near Palayam, says he has no option but to burn the food waste on his terrace. “I felt it was better than dumping it in public space,” he says.

However, the pile of rotting garbage on the terrace and smoke from burning waste make neighbours jittery. “When it rains, the place will be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. We are worried,” says a neighbour.

Following complaints, the unit decided to stop burning the garbage and instead treat the waste using a pulveriser. “The pulveriser cost Rs.30,000. I will install it in a day. I too live in this building. I know how dangerous it is to leave all this waste on the terrace,” the unit owner says.

Vice-president of the All Kerala Caterers Association J.P. Sreekumar says that many city-based catering units are hesitant about accepting orders because of the waste disposal crisis. “Many of our clients insist that the caterers take back the food waste. This has put our members in trouble.”

Mr. Sreekumar said the association would convene a meeting on June 20 to discuss food waste disposal.

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