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State to Build Self-reliant, Sustainable Waste Management System: Minister Rajesh

In Kerala
June 19, 2023

The state is making all out efforts for developing a self-reliant and sustainable waste management system by ramping up the campaign launched as part of ‘Malinya Muktham Nava Keralam’ project to achieve the goal of garbage-free Kerala by next year, Minister for Local Self Government and Excise M B Rajesh said today.

Inaugurating a two-day workshop being held here as part of the second phase of the ‘Malinya Muktham Nava Keralam’ campaign here, the minister said it should be ensured that this phase of the campaign reached all sections of people. The aim of this workshop is to plan the second phase of campaign meticulously through two days of extensive deliberations.

The workshop is intended to take stock of the achievements and shortcomings of the first phase of the campaign besides planning the future course of action plugging the loopholes wherever necessary, he said through video conferencing.

Although the project is yet to achieve all the goals it set out, the activities of the first phase have brought in a visible change all through the State within a short span of time, the Minister noted.

“Infrastructure for collection, sorting and movement of non-organic waste scientifically needs to stepped up in each local body area. It should be ensured through close monitoring that the agencies entrusted with recycling and disposal carry out their tasks properly. Though there has been a massive improvement in waste collection, we are yet to go a long way in fully meeting the challenge of waste segregation. Haritha Karma Sena (HKS)should be given thorough training in this regard”, Rajesh said.

Also, efforts should be initiated to make the HKSa branded initiative of Kerala. Scientific training for its members, providing them necessary equipment, uniforms, vehicles and fair wages should be ensured with the aim of transforming them into the State’s sanitation workforce, the Minister said.

The Minister also noted, in the first phase of the campaign 3997 HKS units have been formed. Still, the target of two activists per ward has not been achieved and for this, 40000 people are required. Currently, there are around 31000 active members, and in no time this shortage will be met.

“During the first phase of the campaign, doorstep waste collection has been increased to 80 percent, whereas the aim is to achieve 100 percent. Meanwhile, steps should be initiated to improve user fee collection. And the local bodies are entrusted to collect the arrears along with the building tax from those failed to pay the monthly user fee to HKS”, Rajesh said.

Pointing out the significance of timely collection of garbage from homes, he said, HKS should ensure that garbage is collected from homes at least once a week and the workers should be trained on dealing with the public.

It should be ensured that people make use of the distributed bio bins. Digital monitoring of HKS’s activities should be strengthened besides transforming HKS into a climate-resilient workforce.

The Minister suggested that the source wastes generated within the limits of a local body should be treated there itself and modern systems should be deployed for temporary storage of the collected wastes. With the active participation of Clean Kerala Company, there was remarkable progress in collecting non-organic waste. During the first phase, 1000 tonnes of recyclable plastic was collected and handed over for processing, he said.

There should be coordination at district levels, in identifying potential startups and private agencies capable of providing inoculum and other resources for waste management. During the second phase of the campaign, significant progress should be made in the scientific treatment of sanitary waste. And for that, a system of same-day collection and disposal of sanitary waste should be ensured in all districts. Also, the technical help desk should be activated to provide assistance at the local body level. As part of ensuring the participation of children, a campaign involving children should be organised on special days like Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti, and Children’s Day, the minister added.

Additional Chief Secretary, Local Self Government Department, Sarada Muraleedharan, stressed the vital role played by people, especially children in achieving the target of making Kerala completely garbage-free by March 2024. She was presenting an overview of the activities initiated by the State as part of ‘Malinya Muktham Nava Keralam’ campaign.

“Even as consistent campaigns and projects focusing on ‘Malinya Muktham Nava Keralam’ are on, total cooperation and support by the public is needed to keep the State clean and litter-free. For this citizen behaviour has to be improved. Also, by forming Children’s Haritha Sabhas, each child should be encouraged to bring home the message of keeping our environment clean”, Muraleedharan said.

Lauding the efforts of Haritha Sabhas, she called for greater participation by men in realising the goal of garbage-free Kerala. Unlike the previous Haritha Sabhas, which saw the participation of nearly two lakh people, out of which 78.53% were women, the future green assemblies should witness an increase in men’s involvement, she noted.

Principal Director, Local Self Government Department (LSGD), M G Rajamanickam, who presided over the function, said each individual has to work towards bringing a change on the issue of waste disposal which should further reflect on the society.

Planning Board Member Jiju P Alex, KSWMP Project Director Mohammed Y Safirulla, KSWMP Deputy Project Director U V Jose, Suchitwa MissionExecutive Director KT Balabhaskaran, Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA) Director General Joy Elamon, and Clean Kerala Company Managing Director GK Suresh Kumar were also present.

District Joint Directors of LSGD, District Coordinators of Nava Keralam, Suchitwa Mission, Program Officers, Clean Kerala Company, Kudumbashree Mission, KILA Facilitators, RGSA Coordinators, RPs of KILA and Social and Communication Experts, KSWMP are the other participants of the two-day workshop.

Activities related to the second phase of the campaign including training programmes, formulation of plans for state and district level programmes, LSG documentation etc. will be held on the second day of the workshop.