ALAPPUZHA: Alappuzha continues to maintain its position as the cleanest town in the state. A recent study carried out by Thanal, a Thiruvananthapuram-based NGO, in nine districts says the canal city has only 0.87 pieces of plastic per square metre.
The touristy town was an eyesore for visitors as garbage including plastic materials filled several parts until it launched Nirmala Bhavanam, Nirmala Nagaram (Clean Home, Clean City) in 2014.
As per the project, sanitation clubs persuaded students to collect plastic in return of coupons to buy books.
The municipal town also imposed a penalty on dumping plastics in public places to achieve the sustainable development goal (SDG).
They started cleaning canals filled with filth, waste management at source producing bio-manure.
In 2017, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recognised Alappuzha as one of the five cities across the world, which successfully implemented decentralised solid waste management.
A few years ago, roadsides and canals filled with stinking garbage were threatening coastal Alappuzha’s status as a tourist destination.
Protests by residents led to the closure of the city’s main landfill site in Sarvodayapuram in 2014.
Thanal collected samples from 59 locations in nine districts from January to May 2019. Malappuram district sits on a heap of plastic with 2.86 pieces per square metre as against Alappuzha's 0.87.
“A massive 17,00,32,429 pieces of plastic, that is an approximate weight of 1,057 tonnes, litter Kerala coast,” the report says.
They classified the litter samples into different categories, including high-density polyethene, low-density polyethene, and PET (polyethene terephthalate).
"We sorted out plastics in specific categories as per Plastic Waste Management and Handling Rules 2018, Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016 and Bio-medical Waste Management Rules 2016," said Thanal director S. Raju.
The report says none of the beaches sampled had dustbins, made mandatory by the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 in every 500 metres....