It was an experience many councillors would not forget in a hurry. On Tuesday, the elected representatives were taken to the City Corporation's garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala to witness the flagging-off of the first consignment of plastic waste to a company based in Tamil Nadu.

For the first-time visitors to the plant, the sight of the rotting garbage heaps and the overpowering stench proved to be a harrowing experience. Many of them were seen holding their noses to ward off the smell. However, Mayor C. Jayan Babu, Deputy Mayor V. Jayaprakash and senior officials who are frequent visitors to the site, seemed to quite unaffected by the olfactory assault.

As one of the `experienced' councillors pointed out, getting a feel of the real thing is only part of the learning process for a people's representative. The first-hand experience would also hopefully translate into a better understanding of the impact of the plant on the environment and the health hazards faced by residents in the neighbourhood.