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Keeping city clean is a collective effort

‘Keeping city clean is a collective effort’

What are the waste management programmes implemented by the Corporation of Cochin?

Waste Managemnet_kochi At Cochin we have successfully implemented primary collection and segregation system and have managed to achieve good segregation efficiency. Under the Primary Collection Component, we have provided households with twin bins for non biodegradable and bio degradable organic waste. Kudumbsree, an NGO, is taking care of house-to-house waste collection. We have utilized funds under SWM components under two schemes – KSUDP (Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project) funded by
ADB and the Government of India JNNURM scheme.

Initially, we did face some resistance from residents at certain levels for segregation . However with continuous engagement with Resident Associations, this issue was sorted out. The fact that at some places our Kudumbsree workers expressed reluctance to collect non-segregated waste shows the extent of dissipation of information and awareness. With the general awareness and education levels being high in Kerala it was not difficult to get the residents cooperation in the later stages.

As a community there is a very high level of acceptance of segregation and at individual level the people of Kochi are very active in keeping the city clean. For example, many civil society organisations, Navy personnel, business establishments etc have come forward to clean the beaches, parks, drainages on many occasions. With this experience, one can easily conclude that getting a city clean is not just Municipal Corporation’s job, but it is a collective effort.

There are around 74 Corporation wards in the city. We have given garbage collection vans to committees led by the Corporation Councillors and having participation of resident associations to maintain their area. The focus of the model is to clean the area with community participation, bring the waste to one location from where the Corporation truck collects it. The Corporation does not have transfer stations or internal dumping yards but several collection points.

Besides, the Municipal Corporation is in the process of implementing “Zero Waste Project” in the Fort Kochi area. The unique & joint project involves locals using their resources along with some support from the Corporation and the Tourism Department to manage the waste in this heritage area with high tourism potential and keep it clean. It is a unique project and if it is implemented successfully, it could be replicated by other Corporations too. A local committee led by the Local Councilor, representatives of residential associations and other stakeholders is at the helm of affairs. This committee collects fund, engages street cleaners and drivers, etc., and the Corporation extends necessary support.

The Corporation does not have enough vehicles for secondary transportation of waste and hires vehicles for the same; we will be procuring trucks and compactors under the JNNURM scheme very soon. Since, the roads in Kerala are narrow and small; we will be procuring a mix of small and big compactors. Under the scheme, we are also planning to procure three & four wheeler vehicles, small/big compactors, trucks and two sweeping machines.

How is the waste being treated?

At present, a 250 TPD waste processing unit in Brahmapuram (a 100 acre site) which was built under JNNURM is operational. It is currently operating at much below its capacity due to technical issues affecting its efficiency. We are in the process of setting up a new Solid Waste Management Facility in the PPP Mode. The project should get launched in another four-five months.

In a more decentralized approach, we are also encouraging apartments to set up a small infrastructure in their location for converting waste into manure. These apartments are designated as ‘Bulk waste generators’. The Corporation is working towards increasing the coverage of this project to 100%. In six months times, most of the apartments in Kochi will have their solid waste management systems for bio-degradable waste.

Since Kerala has many individual houses/bungalows, the Corporation is also considering introduction of ‘Bio-bins’ to these houses which have enough space to accommodate the bins. It is one of the good practices being implemented in the City with the help of CREDAI. At the individual institutional level, the Cochin Chamber of Commerce has taken a small piece of land from Cochin Port Trust and are developing a 40 tonnes per day waste-to-energy plant. The project is expected to be commissioned by December.

What are the various sanitation programmes undertaken by the Cochin Corporation?

Corporation of Cochin is working with GIZ, earlier known as GTZ, an organisation working exclusively in the field for sanitation in Indian cities. GIZ provides technical support to the Ministry of Urban Development. Along with GIZ, we have started the process of preparation of the ‘City Sanitation Plan’. The Draft City Sanitation Plan have identified certain points of action like

1)    Establishment of public toilets,
2)    Waste water management, and
3)    Solid waste management

The Draft City Sanitation Plan has recommended a set of action plans/ locations where the public toilets should be located. The Corporation is in the process of zeroing in on the accurate location. These toilets will be constructed in different formats/ models including the advertisement/ revenue generating model. In places, where the community toilet is not able to generate revenue, the Corporation will construct and maintain the toilets. In certain locations, Civil Society organisations construct and even maintain the public toilets. For instance, CREDAI is helping Corporation of Cochin to install e-toilets in places like Vytilla and Palarivattom.

What about sewage treatement?

Sewerage is another major issue which Kochi is working towards. There is sewerage network coverage of just 5% which is present in the eastern part of Kochi. Although the sewer lines are aging the sewerage plant is functional. The Corporation is planning to redo these sewer lines and improve sewerage coverage under a project of JNNURM. The Corporation has already submitted a Detailed Project Report to the central government under JNNURM scheme and we are awaiting approval. In western Kochi, there are no sewer lines and we are constructing proper sewerage network and sewerage treatment plant funded by the KSUDP (Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project).

There is no designated place or technology to treat the waste from the septic tanks. This waste is either dumped in the open or in isolated areas. We are looking for a technological solution and an in principle approval for construction of a septage treatment plant in Kochi on a PPP model is awaiting Council Approval.

Preeti Swaminathan


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