At a stone’s throw from Sarovaram, a government-owned multi-crore bio-park in the city, herds of swine roam nonchalantly amidst heaps of plastic and human waste.
This sight is proof of the growing menace of illegal dumping of waste by private contractors within urban limits.
What was once a green space bordering the K.C. Chandran Road leading to the affluent Jaffer Khan residential colony and, further, the Regional Science Centre and Planetarium — a prime spot in the city — has now become a dump yard.
In the mornings, acrid smoke from the burning plastic seep onto the adjacent mini-bypass connecting Eranhipalam Junction with the city’s retail trade hub, Mavoor Road.
Corporation’s sanitation workers also contribute to the residents’ misery. On any given day, workers unload garbage here. Residents say the garbage is then segregated and cleaned at the nearby Canoly canal, before some of it making its way to the plastic recycling unit at West Hill. But a large part of the waste is left back, tied up in plastic covers and abandoned to the pigs.
“This is an example of how land within urban limits is used for illegal dumping of waste. There is a strong stink when plastic waste is burnt. Garbage is dumped here at night. It is impossible to keep watch, as the place is secluded after dark except for the passing traffic on the by-pass,” Jolly Jerome, a member of the Sarovaram Residents’ Association, said.
Many locals in the area such as Mr. Jolly pointed to how plastic waste continued to pile up in the city despite the district being declared “plastic-waste-free” way back in 2011 with much fanfare. They said all that was just empty rhetoric.
In a well-attended function organised by the district administration, an official declaration was made that Rs.50 lakh would be spent to take forward the Mass Action for Plastic-waste-free Kozhikode (MAP) campaign.
A. Pradeepkumar, MLA, had said at the function organised on the Kozhikode beach that the district was setting an example for others to emulate and called plastic waste as “one of the major threats to our future.”
M.K. Raghavan, Kozhikode MP, had unveiled a set of alternative products to plastic carry-bags at the venue. More than 50,000 such carry-bags were distributed free to people at the venue.
“But today, places like the one at K.C. Chandran Road is the district’s reality,” P.T. Valsalan, General Secretary of the Residents Apex Council, an umbrella body for residents, said.
“We are going to keep two security persons at the entrance of this road to prevent garbage trucks from illegally entering this space. The residents associations of the area have agreed to pay for the security people,” O.M. Bharadwaj, the local Corporation councillor, said.