Garbage disposal crisis haunts Cochin

TRIVANDRUM - After the capital city, Kerala’s commercial hub of Cochin is facing the garbage disposal crisis.

By T.k. Devasia

Published: Wed 20 Feb 2013, 12:16 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:32 PM

Wastes have started piling up in the overcrowded city since with local residents blocking vehicles carrying the waste to the Brahmapuram plant, coming under the Puthencruz village council, from Sunday.

On Monday, they prevented the vehicles carrying the city wastes to the plant by blocking the roads leading to the plant. The villagers resorted to the extreme step after the City Corporation ignored the stop memo issued by the village council on Saturday in the aftermath of a fire that broke out at the plastics heaped at the plant on Friday.

Earlier, on Saturday an angry mob set a waste-carrying-vehicle on fire and damaged six others on the premises of the plant. They were agitated over fumes and noxious odour that engulfed the area due to the fire.

Though the authorities did not initiate any action against the people involved in the incident the villagers gathered around the plant on Sunday morning and said they will not allow the plant to function.

Local MLA V.P. Sajeendran said that the people may force the closure of the unit as the people at Vilappilsala in the capital city of Trivandrum did if the authorities did not solve the environmental problems faced by them.

“We have been allowing the city corporation to operate the plant considering the difficulties faced by them in disposing the city wastes but if they ignore the health hazards caused to the people we will have no option other than shutting down the unit,” he added.

The people at Vilappilsala led by the village council had shut down the plant treating the capital city wastes in December 2011 after authorities ignored their complaints. They have not allowed any waste to be brought to the plant since then despite force and numerous court orders.

This led to serious health problems, including spread of epidemics in the city. The situation in Cochin will be more serious since the city, which is sought to be elevated as a global city, lacks enough space for dumping the wastes.

The local protests are likely to affect the state government’s move to produce energy from nearly 500 tonnes of waste material being processed at the plant daily now. The Rs3.5 billion project was proposed with the twin purpose of generating electricity and reducing the contamination of air and water. It is not sure whether the village will allow the project in the light of the latest developments.

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