Kochi

Municipality to name and shame fly-tippers

In a recent drive, the health squad of the Kalamassery Municipality intercepted 23 persons found surreptitiously dumping waste in public under the cover of night and netted a collective fine of ₹1.62 lakh from them.

More than the loss of money, those caught red-handed are now probably under the fear of being publicly exposed, with the municipality having announced a ‘naming and shaming policy’ to put an end to the perennial scourge of illegal waste dumping in public spaces.

“We have got the names and addresses of all the 23 and have withheld them for the time being. Unless people co-operate and stop the illegal practice, we will have to execute our decision to name the offenders,” said A.K. Nishad, chairman of the health standing committee of the municipality. Except for two who were charged ₹1,000, all the remaining 21 were slapped with a fine of ₹10,000 each.

The health standing committee has fixed a fine of ₹2,000 for motorcycle-borne offenders, ₹10,000 for those travelling in cars, and ₹25,000 for those using bigger vehicles. Mr. Nishad said those from outside the municipal limits, especially Thrikkakara, were guilty of dumping waste within their municipal limits.

Kalamassery Municipal Chairperson Seema Kannan said the health committee could not be faulted for adopting a naming and shaming policy. “We have one of the best collection and management systems for both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, and yet for people to dump waste is just not acceptable. There is just a nominal user fee that is not all unaffordable,” she added.

The civic body charges ₹100 for waste collection from households and ₹1,000 from shops a month. However, the fact is that only 13,000 out of around 30,000 households have subscribed to the waste management system. “We are trying to bring the remaining households as well under the system,” said Mr. Nishad.

The sprawling HMT campus and Seaport-Airport Road remain the favourite dumping grounds of offenders. “In the case of HMT campus, we can hardly do anything because it is spread over a huge area, while lack of street lights makes dumping easy along Seaport-Airport Road,” said Mr. Nishad.

The HMT authorities have raised the issue of unlit Seaport-Airport Road and the absence of CCTV cameras with the municipality countless times.

Ms. Kannan said steps had been taken to install street lights along Seaport-Airport Road at the earliest and to set up CCTVs in association with HMT and the Naval Armament Depot in the area.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 5:16:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/municipality-to-name-and-shame-fly-tippers/article33957630.ece

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