KSSP activist explains the functioning of the park; (inset) Families visit biogas plant unit in Alappuzha. (Photo: DC)
ALAPPUZHA: The comprehensive garbage management programme taken up by Communist Party of India (Marxist) as a new mission has brought in a great deal of hope in resolving the State’s grave concerns on waste management.
The project, Nirmala Bhavanam, Nirmala Nagaram (clean home, clean city), which was implemented by the LDF-led municipality two years ago, has been successful in setting up as many as 35 solid waste management systems in and around its 52 wards.
Despite succeeding in installing biogas units all through the municipality which has a population of around 1.74 lakh, the project still has to go a long way in getting the support of households which is the main factor in achieving the ultimate goal. To bring about an attitude change in the people, the Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP), the municipal administration and Dr Thomas Isaac, local MLA, are now busy organising awareness campaigns, seminars and self-help groups.
The idea of source-based waste disposal was born when the people of Sarvodayapuram started a relay agitation blocking the municipality from bringing in truck loads of waste every day.
"It’s all about keeping the city waste-free. The biggest challenge lies in the effort to make people aware of the advantage of the project. The attitudinal change among the people, who are cynical, can only be effected through long, aggressive campaigns. We will lead the campaigns to instill confidence in them", said Thomas Isaac.
The KSSP, the significant force behind the project implementing bio gas plants across the municipality in the last couple of years, is still struggling to cross the hurdles that have been pulling the project back.
N.Sanu, treasurer, district committee of KSSP, says they are currently in the process of setting up water sanitation (Watsan) clubs in schools and forming anti-waste brigades with the support of residents’ associations.
"Children can play a pivotal role in changing the attitude of elders. If they restrict their parents and relatives from throwing waste on roads and in public places, the people will have a rethink on the consequences of their act. Subsequently, it will help to build a habit of disposing waste at source itself or depend on biogas units set up nearby as part of the project", he says.
"We took part in the project not because of the colour of the party behind the initiative. But we think it is the only solution to the waste management crisis here. I don’t think rival political parties will discredit the project. If they feel it is political gesture of the CPM, they can initiate such efforts. We will support them also ", he says.
Thomas Mathai Karikkampallil, president, Thathampally Residents' Association says they are told by municipal authorities to segregate plastic and other non-degradable waste and dump them into aerobic bin clusters. But we are not sure how long they can continue this programme.
First of all, they have to identify hotels and slaughter houses which produce large quantities of waste. Households in the city have no role in polluting public places in Alappuzha as we have set up pipe compost plants in almost all houses in the town. The future of the project will depend on how it will be maintained by the authorities", he points out.
Since November 2012, the Alappuzha municipality has set up 2,500 biogas plants, 4,000 pipe composting units and 75 aerobic bin units. Thomas Joseph, opposition leader in the municipality says they wholeheartedly support the waste management system and the only flaw is the lack of a workable solution to address plastic waste.