Kochi Corp to slash fee for collecting biomedical waste following public outcry

Heaps of plastic and other waste left on the roadside near Kadavanthara in Kochi in this file photo from April, 2023. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: The CPM-led Kochi Corporation is set to revise the amount of fee being collected from residents for disposing of biomedical waste, including used sanitary pads and diapers. As per the existing norms, residents have to pay the private agencies assigned to collect biomedical waste Rs 54 (including GST) per kg. The amount is likely to be revised into Rs 12 per kg with the corporation coming under widespread criticism for collecting what opposition parties term a hectic fee.

Top sources in the Corporation said the decision to revise the rate is almost finalised and an order will be issued soon.

A private agency has been assigned to collect biomedical waste from houses. The agencies arrive at doorsteps on request and collect the waste. The garbage is then transported to the biomedical waste treatment plant of Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Limited (KEIL) at Ambalamedu, where the waste is now being incinerated.

The Corporation implemented the plan to collect biomedical waste separately after the massive fire at the Brahmapuram dumping yard exposed the crises in waste management of the densely populated local body. Biomedical waste was also being collected along with plastic garbage and dumped at Brahmapuram until the fire breakout in March. The Corporation stopped transporting plastic and biomedical waste to Brahmapuram after the fire incident.

An opposition councillor told Onmanorama that the fee being collected for disposing of biomedical waste was too high even though the plan is good and beneficial to society. "For families which have members using diapers regularly, the amount comes to over Rs 250 a week. It's unaffordable to many. So they refuse to contact the agencies. We have been demanding that the fee be reduced to an affordable rate," the councillor said.

She said councillors have been assisting people to register in the app used to contact the agency for collecting biomedical waste.

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