TRIVANDRUM - The Kerala government has decided to make dumping of wastes in public places punishable as the awareness programmes have yielded little results.
Industry and Urban Affairs Minister P K Kunhalikutty informed the state assembly that the government would try to either enact a law in this regard in the current session of the assembly or promulgate an ordinance.
The proposed law will have provision for stringent action against those who carelessly dump the waste materials and garbage in public places, Kunhalikutty said adding that the unhealthy practice of dumping waste on roads and lanes by residents was posing serious health hazard.
Lack of sanitation has been identified as one of the major reasons for the outbreak of epidemics in the state routinely every monsoon during the past one decade.
Though successive governments launch cleanliness drives during monsoons, thousands of people remain crippled every year by various epidemics. Besides a cleanliness drive, a project costing Rs620 million was launched by the present government to keep epidemics away. Under the cleanliness drive, various agencies were pressed into action for a week to remove the accumulated garbage and wastes.
The project includes awareness building as well as scientific management of waste through establishment of waste processing plants in each of the districts and treatment plants at local body levels.
Community waste is a major problem in Kerala since it has a high population density.
With a density of 859 people sq. km, the state is three times as densely populated as the rest of the country.
The proposed legislation was recommended by the Legislature Committee on Environment. In its report submitted to the government early this year, the panel asked the government to take stringent action against housing colonies, hotels and restaurants, resorts, hospitals, hostels, slaughterhouses and markets if the dumped waste in public places.
The committee asked the government to ensure that they treat their own waste by setting up biogas plants and compost-making units. Recycling of waste water should be made mandatory, and any act that caused water pollution should be made a punishable offence.