Brahmapuram fiasco: Emergency action plan for Kochi's garbage pile-up; dump waste, lose vehicle

A man rests on a bench surrounded by a pile up of garbage bags near the Durbar Hall in Kochi. Photo: Josekutty Panackal/Manorama

Kochi: Kerala's Minister for Local Self Government Department (LSGD), MB Rajesh has claimed the mushrooming roadside litter in Kochi city since the Brahmapuram fiasco will be cleared by the end of April.

Addressing a press conference with Corporation Mayor M Anil Kumar here on Friday, Rajesh said the state has rolled out an emergency action plan that aims to bring about a 'visible change' in Kochi City by World Environment Day on June 5.

70 tonnes of plastic waste/day
Minister Rajesh said Kochi produces 70 tonnes of plastic waste per day and with Brahmapuram out of the equation now, the public is dumping it on the streets.

"Since the Brahmapuram fire (that started on March 2 and raged for 12 days), plastic waste is not being taken to the dump yard. As a result, garbage piles have accumulated on the streets," said the minister.

Kerala's Minister for LSGD, MB Rajesh and Kochi Mayor M Anil Kumar attend a press conference explaining the action plan to deal with Kochi's waste crisis. Photo: Screengrab

He said the process of clearing the streets of the plastic pile-up has begun. "At present, 50 tonnes of plastic waste are being removed from the streets on a daily basis."

According to the minister, Material Collection Facilities (MCF) will be set up in all 74 wards of the city corporation. "MCFs were absent in the city, but now locations in 40 wards have been identified and the process of collection and segregation of such waste will be fully operational in a month.

Plastic waste collection from May 1
The minister said 746 more volunteers of Harith Karma Sena have been recruited to collect waste from households from May 1. "Those who refuse to pay the user fee will have to pay that along with the property tax."

The waste dump yard at Brahmapuram caught a major fire on March 2 and the outcome was toxic fumes engulfing the city and nearby regions for almost two weeks. Photo: Manorama

Seven Resource Recovery Facilities will be operational by the month's end. The idea of the RRFs is to segregate the plastic waste before it is sent for recycling.

Plan for biowaste
The minister said the Corporation was in the process of setting up a biowaste treatment plant at Brahmapuram, which will take at least 12 months to be operational. "Until then, as an interim arrangement, bio-waste will be taken there. But that arrangement will only work before the rains arrive. By May 15-20 a system will be in place."

Surveillance and action
A total of 100 cameras will be installed at hotspots where waste dumping is frequent. "Surveillance is to be strengthened and night patrolling will also increase. And vehicles that are caught dumping waste on the streets will be confiscated," said the minister.

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