The commissioning of a 5.5-tonne solid waste treatment plant at Attingal will enable the municipality to process the entire quantity of waste collected on a daily basis.

The plant, which has been set up with Rs.3.06 crore allocation under the UDISSMT scheme, is the fourth in the municipality and will use the ‘windrow' (aerobic composting) method to process solid waste. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned on April 28.

Attingal generates close to 17 tonnes of garbage a day. Of this, 18 to 20 per cent is non-biodegradable. The municipality collects close to 13 tonnes of garbage. With the commissioning of the new plant, all this waste can be processed. The non-biodegradable component will be used for an engineering landfill spread over one acre.

The plant's project coordinator and the secretary of the Kasaragod Social Service Society, which has set up the plant, told The Hindu that the landfill has been designed to accommodate waste for 25 years. “One special feature of the treatment plants at Attingal is that they use innoculum to do away with the odour normally generated by accumulated garbage,” he said.

With a view to capping the amount of garbage reaching the four treatment plants, the municipality also has plans to set up bio-gas plants and vermi-composting facilities in houses and other institutions. Municipal secretary K. Harikumar told The Hindu that the idea is to try and limit the amount of garbage brought to the treatment plants to 13 tonnes a day.

“As the municipality expands, it may not be possible to bring all the garbage generated here to the treatment plants. We are encouraging people to do spot-processing of the waste. This may not be possible everywhere but those who have space should set up such facilities. In the long run this is a very good way for the municipality to manage its solid waste.” Mr. Harikumar also claimed that Attingal was the only place where the collection, segregation and composting of solid waste had been completely handed over to workers of Kudumbasree. Two treatment plants at Attingal use vermi-composting to process solid waste.

The three plants now functioning at Attingal generate close to 3 tonnes of fertiliser a day. While it costs the municipality Rs. 4 to produce one kg of fertilizer, it sells them to farmers' collectives and to individuals at Rs.2 a kg.