Dumping on roads on the rise
The capital city, once known across the country for its cleanliness, is now a garbage storehouse. A question mark hangs over Thiruvananthapuram's waste disposal, and with recurring rains, it finds itself in the threshold of an epidemic outbreak.
The annual pre-monsoon cleaning drive of the city Corporation, launched recently, has been reduced to a mockery. Ward councillors and sanitation workers do not know how to dispose of the garbage and slush collected from streets and drains.
No land to dump
Wards where vacant land is no more available for land-filling garbage, are the worse affected. Councillors in these wards, including Palkulangara, Sreekanteshwaram, Thampanoor, Fort, and Kamaleshwaram, say that dumping of waste on streets has increased in the last few days as people no longer have the option of burning garbage because of the rain.
“We are really concerned. Maggots have started swarming the wet waste heaps on roadsides. We do not have any directive from the Corporation. Even if we ask sanitation workers to collect the garbage, where will they dispose it?” asks Sreekanteshwaram councillor P. Rajendran Nair.
Garbage spilled over the streets is blocking drains and canals, causing flash floods in low-lying areas.
Water logging has triggered mosquito trouble in these wards, according to Palkulangara councillor P. Ashok Kumar.
“Not just mosquitoes, rodents and all sorts of insects feast on wayside garbage even during day time.
Garbage has started polluting groundwater in our ward. Many people there depend on bore-well water for drinking and cooking as the KWA's water supply is not consistent,” Mr. Ashok Kumar says.
Before the garbage crisis leads to a major disease outbreak, the Corporation and government must at least temporarily re-open the Vilappilsala waste treatment plant, he says.
“Dumping of waste in canals is another issue. The canals are so badly polluted that it is impossible for workers to clean them. Since plastic waste is never segregated it has blocked most canals and drains,” Thampanoor councillor R. Harikumar said.
Mayor K. Chandrika says that the Corporation is helpless until the State government intervenes in the Vilappilsala treatment plant issue.
“It is not just the residents of the city who are generating the waste. We have a huge floating population of visitors and tourists. On Saturday alone, more than five lakh people came here to attend a rally. How will the Corporation take care of the waste generated by such a huge influx of people in a crisis situation,” Ms. Chandrika said.