Assembly panel calls for processing at source to be made mandatory

Kerala may be in for stringent legislation on waste management as waste remains a major environmental and health hazard in the State.

The Legislature Committee on Environment recommended in its report submitted early this year that law should be brought to make waste processing mandatory at the source itself. Housing colonies, hotels and restaurants, resorts, hospitals, hostels, slaughterhouses, and markets should not be allowed to function if they failed to treat their waste.

The committee suggested that biogas plants and compost-making units should be set up in different locations for treatment of organic waste. Rules should be specified for recycling and disposal of non-organic waste. Recycling of waste water should be made mandatory, and any act that caused water pollution should be made a punishable offence.

It observed that the implementation of the ban on plastic carry bags thinner than 30 microns had not been effective. The ban should be made stringent, covering bags with thickness of up to 50 microns. Plastic should be mixed with bitumen for construction of roads, as had been successfully done in Tamil Nadu and other States.

The committee wanted the government to bring legislation to ensure that manufacturers took back used cadmium batteries, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), cell phones, computers, and other electronic waste for processing, recycling, or proper disposal. The committee felt that the police should act under the provisions of the Police Act to check pollution. The Act had provisions that empowered the district magistrate to prevent disposal of waste in public places through regulations, the committee noted.

Its recommendations are under consideration of the government.

The government had announced as part of a 10-point programme for waste management that a law would be brought making waste processing systems mandatory in flats, villas, commercial complexes, community halls, and hotels, and prevent dumping of waste in public places.

Keywords: waste management