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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kerala is stinking

             Kerala, God’s own country, one of the most favoured tourist destination in India, has now taken a beat from improper waste dumping and management. The state is in the news for all the wrong reasons. State capital Thiruvanathapuram (TVR) is in the spot light b’coz of the Vilappilshala (a village in TVR ) issue. Villagers staged a protest against the dumping of waste and even against the order of High Court, they blocked the vehicles which brought solid wastes to the waste management plant.  Villagers made it clear that they are not going to bear the burden of city’s waste. They warned the authorities about the consequences if they try to send in more disposal vehicles. The protesters were mainly women and children, so the Police had to be careful dealing with them. Since the option of Vilappilshala plant also seems to be closed, the question in front of authorities being, what to do with the wastes? and how to reduce the amount of waste?

             There are mainly 5 garbage hot spots in Kerala, Vilappilshala (Thiruvananthapuram), Brahmapuram (Kochi), Laloor (Thrissur), Chelora (Kannur) and Neliyamparambu (Calicut). The first three sites constantly find their space in media. As the state is developing and cities like Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram are changing into metros, more people are immigrating and the space is not increasing according to that  as a result density of population increases. These cities are not properly planned to contain this much population. The main problem with Kerala has always been its lack of proper town planning. We never had a proper sewage and waste management system. Geographically, implementation of proper sewage systems are not that easy in Kerala, but it is also not impossible.
            In the case of Vilappilshala, the waste management plant was once closed and again had reopened by the order of Kerala High Court on January 23, 2012. The plant has a capacity of 90 tonnes, but the garbage dumped here per day, is above 200 tonnes. The study conducted by CDS (Centre for Development Studies) back in 2005, warned the authorities about the after effects of accumulated, non treated wastes in the plant. Such huge accumulation of waste, high above the capacity of  the plant is causing the contamination of nearby water bodies. It is also oozing into the near by wells which make the water unusable. Outbreak of epidemics are also being feared in these areas. As Kerala gets heavy rainfall twice in a year, fear of wastes getting dispersed to other far flung agricultural areas and the contamination of ground water is also prevalent.
Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri oommen Chandy considering this an imminent threat, declared starting of waste management plants in every districts. He insisted on using modern technologies(from abroad) in waste management and proposed of disposing wastes with in the vehicle itself. Both the waste management plants in Kochi and Calicut is planning to be upgraded with new technologies.Lets hope for the best and pray its not too late.