The Kalpetta Municipality has bagged the open defecation-free (ODF) ++ status in the national ranking of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), a first-time achievement in the State, for its meritorious achievement in solid and liquid waste management.
While the urban local body (ULB) alone has been selected for the ODF++ status in the State, as many as 35 ULBs, including four ULBs in Thiruvanathapuram district; five each in Ernakulam and Kannur; four each in Alappuzha, Malappuram, and Kottayam; two in Idukki; three each in Thrissur and Kozhikode; one each in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Wayanad and Kasaragod districts have been selected for ODF+ status.
ODF+ and ODF++ are aimed at proper maintenance of toilet facilities and safe collection, conveyance, treatment, or disposal of faecal sludge and sewage. While ODF+ focuses on toilets with water, maintenance and hygiene, ODF++ focuses on toilets with sludge and septage management.
“Efforts by municipal workers to make the civic body open defecation-free and manage solid and liquid waste with the support of the public helped us attain the meritorious achievement,” Keyemthody Mujeeb, Municipal Chairman, told The Hindu.
Dumping toilet waste in waterbodies, including rivers, in the district, was a significant concern for the civic body. However, the practice declined considerably after the municipality set up a modern faecal sludge treatment plant (FSTP) with financial assistance from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
A team of officials of the Mission and Quality Council of India had inspected the FSTP and public toilet systems under the civic body twice before selecting it for the status, Mr. Mujeeb said. They also collected data from business establishments, educational institutions, and government-private offices under the civic body for the purpose, he added.
“We have set up two public toilets on the premises of the two bus bays under the civic body and ensured their cleanliness. Toilets have also been constructed in all houses, including those in tribal hamlets,” he said.
The municipality has also executed the solid waste management project with financial assistance from the World Bank and is executing the ‘Clean Kalpetta’ project to keep the city clean, he said.
“As the mission has been awarded the status, we expect more projects and funds from the mission, and they will help us keep the city greener, neat and tidy,” Mr. Mujeeb added.