THE IDEA of ‘Clean City’ germinated in 2007, when the ‘Garbage Crisis’ hit Kochi. CREDAI Kochi joined hands with Jose Joseph to set up a committed team with adequate funds to develop a robust waste management plan. The ecofriendly waste management technique uses the aerobic microbial composting system for solid waste Management. However, the social project is playing a vital role in tackling other issues such as poverty alleviation and women empowerment whereby women from economically weaker section of the Association are given employment.
How did the Idea germinated?
It started somewhere in 2000, when some of my European friends refused to walk on the roads of Kochi, citing the garbage. It hurt me. In 1498, a foreigner Vasco Da Gama having landed to the same State Kerla and praised the State for its natural beauty. Today my friends are criticising the same land for the dirtiness around. The issue motivated me to dig the root cause. I observed, the forest area was still clean and green, as the animals and tribes were not adding to pollution. This made me to conclude that there is something wrong with our approach to environment. The community has intentionally been distancing itself from nature.
To understand the current scenario, I travelled the entire state of Kerala along with a photographer, took the videos of dumping grounds, and showed them to the local MLAs and the Minister. The response from the authorities was not encouraging.
I decided to start from my house, right from collecting garbage to composting. The concept caught on and I experimented with a cluster of 800 houses in 2003 with the help of a lady councillor and an Advocate. We kept bio-bins along the roadsides and national highway. We made a demonstration place near to a big dumping ground. The place which was clean & green a year ago had turned to a dumping ground now.
Further challenges that you faced…
We were immediately called by the National Highway engineers and blamed for encroachment. But, we were firm about not moving the bins until the area was made waste free. Finally, Corporation cleaned the entire area and overnight we turned the place into a garden. This was noticed by CREDAI.
Clean City Movement
CREDAI, the then Kerala Builders Forum visited the site and discussed with the advocate and the Councillor to implement something similar for its buildings too. They had to take a wakeup call soon, as the Cochin properties were down owing to the rising pollution in the City. Nobody wanted to buy any property there. Local residents too started migrating as epidemic started howling. CREDAI officials diverted the funds kept for office construction, to spend on self-reliant solid waste management programme.
This is then, I associated myself with CREDAI, leading the pet project-CREDAI clean city. CREDAI Clean City Movement is a non-profit NGO working towards the development of clean-country.