An assessment by the State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) on Solid Waste and the State Pollution Control Board has revealed that non-biodegradable waste continues to be dumped over heaps of legacy waste (old waste) at the Brahmapuram dump site of the Kochi Corporation in violation of the prescribed guidelines.
The findings emerged following site inspections and based on inferences gathered from data on the quantity of mixed waste brought to the site and transferred from there to agencies outside for recycling. The figures were taken and analysed for the months of May, June and July this year.
According to official records submitted by the corporation, only 37.53 metric tonnes of the 3,889.18 metric tonnes of mixed waste were removed from the dump site in May for recycling, while the remaining 3,850.30 metric tonnes were deposited over the heaps of legacy waste that has remained at Brahmapuram for long.
The scenario in June was worse as only 17.56 metric tonnes of the 3,827.8 metric tonnes of waste collected were transferred to outside agencies for recycling. In July, the quantity of mixed waste removed from the site was only 44.08 metric tonnes as against the 4,268.4 metric tonnes of waste collected from various regions.
Board officials pointed out that plastic waste alone was transferred to outside agencies after manual segregation by ragpickers at the site even though those responsible were collecting mixed waste, including plastic materials, from areas under the corporation on a regular basis. Ideally, they should have set up facilities for safe storage and disposal of mixed waste at the site rather than dumping it over the already piled up legacy waste, they said.
The shredder installed for plastic waste was not seen operational, and bundled plastic waste was seen near the defunct facility. Officials of the civic body had informed the committee and the board during inspection that only a section of the plastic waste was transferred to some recycling facilities.
The SLMC had informed the National Green Tribunal that the recurrent disposal of mixed waste created huge legacy waste heap at Brahmapuram, and that was the main reason for the major fire outbreak at the site on February 22. The board found that the corporation was not able to undertake any proper rectification measures to resolve lapses at the site.
The proposal on setting up anaerobic digesters, which could be advantageously used to treat solid waste generated at Brahmapuram, is pending. It will help in reducing the quantity of waste considerably till the waste-to-energy plant turns a reality, according to officials.