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World Bank provides $105 million loan for Kerala’s solid waste management

Will strengthen role of Urban Local Bodies in the chain

The Kerala Solid Waste Management Project (KSWMP) will establish an integrated solid waste management system that includes a balanced mix of decentralized and centralized waste management interventions. It will support multiple activities at local and regional levels including expansion of waste collection services, development of waste recycling and management facilities, remediation and closure of existing dumpsites, development of scientific landfills, and sanitization of government offices, hospitals, community level waste recycling and processing facilities. The project will pay special attention to financial, operational and environmental sustainability of the solid waste management systems to be developed in the state.

The solid waste management capacity in Kerala is currently constrained by limited primary collection and transportation systems, low capacity of community-level bio-waste treatment facilities, and lack of centralized processing and disposal facilities. According to a survey carried out by the Kerala government in 2018, over 70% of the water sources in Kerala are contaminated, with over half of the pollution originating from solid waste in households, markets and hotels.

Recognizing the urgency for improving solid waste management services, the Government of Kerala has taken several measures, such as a state-wide cleanliness mission (Harith Kerala Mission), which includes solid waste management as one of its core priorities; promoting a decentralized approach by asking local governments to improve source segregation, providing subsidies to households for managing biodegradable waste through composting or bio-digestion; and engaging women self-help groups for primary collection of plastic waste.

At the local level, the new project will support these initiatives by laying out mechanisms for ULBs to formally engage with Kudumbashree groups (state women livelihood mission) as service providers of solid-waste management, including collection and transportation. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the project will support ULB systems to undertake COVID-19 waste management, cleanliness/sanitization activities, and strengthen the systems for ensuring the health and safety of the sanitation workers including women.

This project will promote environmentally sound waste recycling, waste diversion and safe disposal methods. It will reduce marine litter contribution by strengthening plastic waste segregation, collection and disposal systems; upgrading plastic recycling technology; creating enabling policy and regulatory framework for reducing plastic consumption; and introducing circularity for maximizing resource efficiency.

ULBs will have a lead role in delivering solid waste management services at the local level, including facilitating generator level waste segregation and treatment, primary collection and transportation, waste processing and recycling.

The project is the first end-to-end solid waste management project of the World Bank in India and is aligned with the long-term State Partnership Strategy between the World Bank and the Government of Kerala that focuses on building climate smart and disaster resilient urban infrastructure in Kerala as one of the core priorities under the Rebuilding Kerala Initiative (RKI). The $105 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a final maturity of 13.5 years including a grace period of six years.

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