The Hindu looks at the many facets of life in Kozhikode and the myriad challenges before the port city in a week-long series.

The city is growing. Fast urbanisation is adding to the swelling mound of solid waste. Life is getting increasingly miserable for the people around Njeliyamparamba, the only dump yard of the City Corporation in Kozhikode.

The recent merger of three grama panchayats, namely, Beypore, Elathur, and Nallalam-Cheruvannur with the Corporation has further added to the woes of the civic body, already struggling to overcome the insurmountable solid-waste management challenge. The long wait for the first plastic recycling unit under the City Corporation at West Hill is still continuing.

And the city is without even a single plastic shredder or recycling unit though many were promised to be installed ago as part of the much-hyped plastic-waste eradication campaign titled, Mass Action for a Plastic Waste-free Kozhikode (MAP).

According to Corporation authorities, the work on the plant at West Hill was almost complete. “The delay in making the plant operational is due to some fresh demands by residents in the area,” says T. Sujan, councillor and member of the Corporation Standing Committee on Health.

The district administration, with the help of various stakeholders including the Shuchithwa Mission and the Kerala State Industrial Enterprises (KSIE), also tried hard to find a sustainable solution to the issue. Their proposal for a pyrolysis technology plant in the city is still awaiting government approval. “The Corporation does not seem to be keen on this proposal since they have different plans,” says M.C. Mayin Haji, Chairman, KSIE.

A recent seminar, held as part of a Property Show organised under the aegis of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI) here, came up with a different take on the issue. “No messiah will come to salvage us from the mess created by our own waste, the onus is on each one of us as residents, civilians, and responsible citizens,” said P.V. Chandramohan, a former Professor, who spoke on the issue.

He was speaking as a representative of a group of residents’ associations which could successfully install and make functional solid-waste treatment plants in their apartments. “We are producing organic manure from the kitchen wastes generated from individual apartments at a common place,” Prof. Chandramohan said.

Kabeer Harun, waste-management expert, insistence on individual waste-treatment plants for high-rise apartments in the city will bring in a significant change. “From my experience, I can tell you that 30 to 40 per cent of the burden on the dumping ground (Njeliyamparamba) can be reduced if we insist on individual waste-treatment plants at the apartments,” Mr. Harun, who had spearheaded a campaign for the Clean City Movement in Kochi, where 70 to 80 per cent of flats in the were made to set up individual bio-waste treatment plants, said.

Once these plants are installed and the requisite personnel appointed, the sorted kitchen waste (biodegradable) can be converted into organic fertilizers with the help of a bio-bin. “The manure thus made can also be used for plants or vegetables at the apartments or marketed outside,” Jose Joseph, executive director of the Clean City Movement, said.

According to him, the expense incurred in setting up a solid waste treatment plant at a high-rise building is not very big considering the money a household spends on the fittings for a single bathroom these days. “What we need is a vital change in the mindset of the people and a change in the sense of responsibility one should have about the waste each individual household produces,” Mr. Joseph said.

The Hindu looks at the many facets of life in Kozhikode and the myriad challenges before the port city in a week-long series.

More In: Kerala | National