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MCG proposes decentralized waste management by City Corporation

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Mangaluru: Mangalore Civic Group (MCG) has proposed the adoption of the highly acclaimed Alappuzha Model of decentralized waste management by Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC). This system can replace MCC’s current practice of bulk collection and processing of waste and provide both an eco-friendlier and more cost-effective avenue for garbage disposal.

A delegation of the MCG comprising Nigel Albuquerque, Prathapchandra Kedilaya, Suresh Nayak, Bhaskar Kiran, and Oswald Pereira met MCC Commissioner Akshy Sridhar on Wednesday, 10th November 2021, and presented a memorandum giving details of the benefits of this system.

Presently, the Mangaluru City Corporation collects all the garbage produced by more than six lakh people in bulk and dumps it at a centralized collection centre at Pachchanady. The garbage dump, in addition to being a source of stench for the locals, has contaminated local groundwater and become a major health hazard. Further, the garbage landfill has rendered the land unusable. Terming the MCC’s existing waste management facility as an ‘Environmental Disaster’, the Mangalore Civic Group has proposed the Alappuzha Model as a better alternative with far-reaching impact and long-term benefits.

The delegates emphasized that since the MCC has constituted Ward Committees and Area Sabhas, adopting the Alappuzha Model for Mangaluru city would make waste management more accessible and effective. The memorandum points out that Ward Committees are assigned the task of Municipal Waste Management under Section 13I (i) of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (Amendment) Act 2011. It also points out the Karnataka High Court orders to BBMP on two different occasions, dated 22.11.2012 and 10.11.2017, to implement decentralized waste management involving Ward Committees and Area Sabhas.

The Alappuzha Model:

Alappuzha Model is a unique and highly cost-effective method of waste management developed and implemented in Alappuzha (Alleppey) town of Kerala. This model has spread far and wide, as officials from across the country have undertaken study of how this town has kept clean. In December 2017, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recognized Alappuzha municipality as one of the five cities in the world which has sustainable solid waste management practices. Under this model, the waste generated in a locality is treated in the same locality, avoiding all the logistical issues involved in bulk garbage collection.

The plan enables every household to go green and treat domestic biodegradable waste in their own backyards or at composting units set up at nearby public places within the ward. Alappuzha Municipality has established 5,000 kitchen bins, 3,000 biogas plants, 2,800 pipe composting units, and 218 aerobic composting units in the municipal areas. The town has been able to take care of 80 percent of its waste produced by a population of 1.74 lakh. Alappuzha subsidizes up to 90% of wet waste composting equipment to residents within the municipality limits. Presently, waste from commercial sites is collected by private contractors and processed at bins placed all over the town. Similarly, for treating non-biodegradable waste, a material collection facility is also provided in public spots. The municipality collects plastic and hazardous waste from the town at periodic intervals.

Solution for Mangalore:

By adopting the Alappuzha decentralized waste management system, the MCC can not only prevent the recurrence of the environmental disaster but avoid the costly and ineffective bulk collection and processing of garbage.

The Mangalore Civic Group urged the MCC to adopt this model and provide following facilities to bring in a decentralized waste management system:  (1) Provide composting units and biogas plants to all the sources of waste generation (households, restaurants, and offices) with a subsidized rate for the households; (2) Provide composting units and biogas plants at public places for each ward for households that cannot install plants due to financial or space constraints; if a public space is not available in any ward, the neighbouring wards can be combined; (3) Provide for the transportation of waste from the sources of waste generation to waste-processing units, and (4) Create continuous awareness and education programs to sensitize people about waste management.

MCC Commissioner Akshy Sridhar has assured the MCG delegation that their memorandum would be given due consideration in formulating MCC’s waste management policy. Copies of the memorandum were also forwarded to Deputy Commissioner, District of Dakshina Kannada, Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Urban Development Department, Principal Secretary to the Government, Department of Urban Development, Director, Directorate of Municipal Administration, Additional Chief Secretary to Government of Karnataka and Chief Secretary to Government of Karnataka.

The Mangalore Civic Group was formed in 2015 under the erstwhile name ‘MCC Civic Group’ to foster citizen participation in local self-governance and tackle other civic issues in Mangaluru.

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