Learning waste management from Indore

When Indore in Madhya Pradesh bagged the award for the cleanest city in the country for the second time in a row when the results of Swachh Bharath Mission’s Swachh Sarvekshan ranking came out recently, many people may have wondered how a highly populated and crowded city in the country could attain such high levels of cleanliness.

Kozhikode, which has been pushed back to the 254th position in the last survey, has much to learn from Indore and adapt, observed R.S. Gopakumar, Health Officer of Kozhikode Corporation, who, along with Health Standing committee Chairman K.V. Baburaj, had visited Indore recently.

“Indore is more than twice the size of Kozhikode, but the Corporation has managed to cover more than 90% of the population’s waste management needs,” he said.

The trenching ground in Indore is on 146 acres, while Njeliyanparamba in Kozhikode is in less than 10 acres. They have 1,100 vehicles to collect waste while Kozhikode has fewer than 100 vehicles, Dr. Gopakumar noted.

Workshop for vehicles

“Setting up a workshop for our vehicles could be one of the steps that we could take. Indore has an ISO certified workshop for it,” he said. Kozhikode can bring in much changes with regards to the collection of waste. “Vehicles that collect waste from houses, around 600 of them, are colour-coded to carry dry waste and wet waste separately,” he said. “They have transfer points at both ends of the city from where the collected waste is compressed and thrown into bigger vehicles to be taken to the trenching ground. The centralised Material Recovery Facility is on 10 acres of land. It houses an Animal Birth Control unit, a bricks manufacturing unit using construction waste and a plastic recycling unit that converts plastic into pipes and other utility articles.”

Sewage treatment plants

Kozhikode has a lot more to learn from Indore, which includes setting up of sewage treatment plants (STPs). Indore has three STPs of 341 mld each located on 22 acres of land.

In Kozhikode, non-availability of land is the major hurdle for the construction of STPs. Lack of funds is another problem. “Indore gets property tax worth Rs. 600 crore and levies a user fee from citizens that amounts to Rs. 40 crore every year,” Dr. Gopakumar said.

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