A town that no longer needs a dump

Harithakarma Sena members and volunteers engaged in plantain cultivation at the Puthiyappa trenching ground.  

Vadakara Municipality has been the talk of the town for a few years now for its achievements in sanitation and hygiene. Being the first urban local body in the State to bag the Hygiene Status, the municipality has set a model in different areas. The newest is the conversion of a rubbish dump into a green park.

The town’s dumping yard at Puthiyappa has a history of at least half a century. Just three decades ago, it was a trenching ground where dead bodies and even faeces used to be buried. Later, a compound wall was constructed around the one-acre plot, and it became a place to dump all kinds of urban waste.

The authorities had to face protests from local people over maintaining it as a dumping yard, as the smell emanating from the yard and liquid waste were posing a threat to their well-being. A petition at the Kerala High Court prompted the municipality to take action, and it attempted to produce manure from waste, which, however, failed.

Meanwhile, Vadakara became so efficient in waste management that it no longer required a dumping yard. “We have shown the State that if waste is segregated and recycled in the right manner, there is nothing to dump,” said Manalil Mohan, an environmentalist, who has been coordinating sanitation efforts of the municipality for a few years now.

Clearing refuse

The present municipal council began efforts to get rid of the dumping yard by clearing some of the waste from the yard and capping the surface using coir geotextile.

The Puthiyappa trenching ground in Vatakara before the waste was cleared.

The Puthiyappa trenching ground in Vatakara before the waste was cleared.  

However, around 30,000 cubic-metre waste is yet to be removed from the site. Biomining is the technology adopted at the site, in which waste is passed through a sieve to sort. In addition, efforts are being made to convert the area into a green park. Vadakara’s famed Hariyali Harithakarma Sena has been entrusted with the task.For over a month, members of the Sena under the leadership of Vijila M.K., Beena.T.K., and Sathi.T.T. have been undertaking plantain and vegetable cultivation in the land. The Green Technology Centre at Vadakara, another first in the State, is providing technical assistance.

“In the current pace, it will take us at least a couple of years to convert the yard into a green park. It will be another first in the State,” Mr. Mohan said.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:43:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/a-town-that-no-longer-needs-a-dump/article32922652.ece

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