With the Kochi City police cracking the whip on those dumping waste along public places, the number of cases registered in this connection have seen more than a ten-fold increase in the three months since January.
From a mere eight cases in January, the number soared to 88 in March. The police intensified the drive after almost a fortnight-long fire at Kochi Corporation’s Brahmapuram solid waste treatment plant last month.
“Earlier, we used to penalise only those guilty of dumping septic tank waste. But now, we are taking strict action against those found dumping all kinds of solid waste along public places through inquiry in the neighbourhood of such illegal dump sites and with the help of CCTV images,” said K. Sethu Raman, District Police Chief (Kochi City).
In fact, despite the many incidents of fire occurrences at the Brahmapuram plant since 2019, only three cases were registered during the period in the police station concerned. Of this, two were registered after the recent fire outbreak on March 2. The only other case registered in 2019 was closed as ‘undetected’ the very next year.
The State Police Chief had issued an executive order on November 14, 2016, concerning the implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. As per this, Kochi City police had registered 96 cases in 2021 and 149 cases in 2022 under IPC Section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) read with 278 (making atmosphere noxious to health) and Section 120 (e) of the Kerala Police Act.
Sections 340 (A), 340 (B), 341, and 342 of the Kerala Municipalities Act, and Section 219 (N), 219 (O), 219 (P) and 252 of the Kerala Panchayati Raj Act are also invoked.
Previously, First Information Reports were not registered against common citizens throwing waste at public places, abandoned properties, and bushes. Only petty cases and fines were imposed. But going by the increased vigour of the police in finding a lasting solution to the waste menace, this leniency has all but abandoned.