Municipality to act tough on those dumping waste in public places

With piles of waste mounting in Alappuzha town, the municipality has decided to act tough by imposing a fine on those found throwing waste in public places.

Waste dumps have been mounting in the town for the last few days following suspension of transportation of waste to the waste processing plant at Sarvodayapuram from May 16. The municipality's attempt to transport waste to the plant this Monday was strongly opposed by the local people.

M.G. Sathidevi, chairperson of the Health Standing Committee of the municipality, told The Hindu that a High Court order stipulating action against those throwing waste had been existing and the municipality has decided to implement this strongly in view of the growing waste menace.

“The idea is to reduce the quantity of waste through various methods. The situation at the plant is such that it is not possible to transport a large quantity of waste to the plant,” she said.

The waste collected by the municipality runs to 40- 45 tonnes daily. The municipality was planning to install containers to collect waste at various points. It has decided to distribute two buckets to households to collect bio-degradable and non-degradable waste. The project will be implemented initially in 10 wards of the municipality. Kudumbasree workers, who had stopped collecting waste from households following the municipality's directive, will resume this work from July 1.

The collection of plastic waste, however, will be reduced to one day a week, Ms. Sathidevi said.

Municipal authorities are reportedly holding talks with a company based in Andhra Pradesh, with which the municipality had entered into a contract for maintenance of the plant, here on Monday.

Ms. Sathidevi said that the contract with the company will expire only after two months.

A meeting of the health division employees of the municipality will be held here on Monday. It is likely to put in place a system of employees watching out for those throwing waste in public places.

Ms. Sathidevi said that the municipality is also planning a massive awareness drive among the public on various types of composting which could be installed in houses to process waste at the source itself.

“Suchitwa Mission is offering 50 per cent subsidy and the municipality 25 per cent for setting up such plants. A meeting of Kudumbasree workers, residents' association representatives and the District Medical Officer (DMO) along with the local MLA have been convened on June 16 to drive home the point of processing waste at households itself,” she said.

People living near the plant at Sarvodayapuram, who have been suffering since the waste dumping from the municipality started 40 years ago, have put forward two conditions for resuming the transport of the waste to the plant. They have no objection to segregated bio- degradable waste being brought in. They have also demanded the removal of the soil at the plant which had been mixed with waste being dumped there for years without any processing.

The plant was set up only three years ago by the municipality after agitations by the local people.

The plant had been non-functional for the last three months.

Ms. Sathidevi said that a project of Rs.92 lakh submitted by the muncipality to remove soil polluted with dumped waste had been approved. Women will remove the soil with the help of machinery under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. But this could start only after the rains, she added.

Local people demand removal of soil from processing plant at Sarvodayapuram

Kudumbasree workers to resume waste collection from July 1