The High Court directive for an expert panel to study the environmental impact of the Vilappilsala garbage factory may have kindled the hopes of the people of Vilappil panchayat who have been waiting for a solution to the decade-old issue. But in the city, if the present conditions are any indication, the situation looks far from improving.

Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali said the government would study the order and act accordingly. As for the city, the Minister said it was hoped that the recently acquired mobile incinerator and the proposed baling system, which was likely to be given approval at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, would suffice till the treatment plant at Chala came up in March. The baling system and the Chala plant are expected to provide a solution to garbage mostly from Chala only. With the mobile incinerator having its own limitations with regard to the tonnage it can handle, and to be handed over to other municipalities or corporations once the Chala plant is operational, there is no consensus on where the garbage from the rest of the city would be taken.

Despite meetings and court directives, a concrete solution to the situation is yet to evolve.

Proposals that were suggested during the recent all-party meet on the garbage disposal issue, including the one for sanitary landfills in quarries, according to Mr. Ali, were ‘put on hold’ as of now due to the staunch opposition from the public.

The authorities themselves admit that the pipe compost and bio-bin concepts are yet to gain popularity with the public, while the plastic collection drive too is yet to see the kind of momentum it was expected to have gained after more than a month of its launch.

The High Court’s observation on Monday that the issue in Vilappilsala was political, could be applied to the city as well, albeit on a lesser scale, said a senior official.