Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has blamed public protests for the government’s inability to establish waste management plants in various districts. The delay in achieving the objective led to widespread contamination of drinking water that could potentially affect large sections, he cautioned.
While replying to a question posed by Najeeb Kanthapuram (Indian Union Muslim League) in the Assembly on Monday, Mr. Vijayan also stated his opposition towards letting local people to decide on whether such facilities could be established in their places.
His comments came in the wake of mounting agitation against the plan to construct sewage treatment plants at various places including Avikkal Thodu and Kothi in Kozhikode.
Citing the opposition faced by the government during its bid to establish a waste-to-energy plant in the biodiversity-rich Peringamala grama panchayat three years ago, Mr. Vijayan said a densely populated State like Kerala was bound to face difficulties in finding the ideal site for such facilities.
“The State, which has a continuous urban spread, has little option but to identify places that are comparatively less populated to establish waste management plants. Considering the local population, the proposed site at Peringamala was identified as a suitable location. However, mass protests that received political backing ensured the project was dropped. Unfortunately, the Thiruvananthapuram district still lacked a waste disposal and treatment facility,” he said.
The Chief Minister added the mounting garbage in various parts of the State hampered the government’s efforts to nurture a healthy population. Several waterbodies remained contaminated by coliform bacteria, an indication of faecal contamination that posed serious health risks.
Mr. Kanthapuram was critical of the alleged police excesses meted out to the protesters of issues related to waste treatment projects.