Miscreants dumping waste in public places get off scot-free in district

Poor compliance with rules by local bodies blamed

Twenty-seven local bodies in Ernakulam were found to have made ‘zero progress’ in acting against those responsible for dumping of waste in public spaces.

The Local Self-Government Department has given a month’s time to the secretaries of these civic bodies to initiate legal and penal action against violators. Serious lapses in creating public awareness and steps against illegal waste dumping came to the fore after the second round of performance audit carried out by the department on July 12. The previous evaluation was done in April. Officials of the local bodies cited the pandemic situation as the reason for not able to take action against unauthorised waste dumping in public places.

Some of the erring panchayats include Ayavana, Elankunnapuzha, Avoli, Valakom, Aarakuzha, Kadamakudi, Payipra, Kaloorkad, Mulavukad, Manjaloor, Alangad, Aaradi, Vengoor, Avoli, Chottanikkara, Koovapadi, Varapuzha, Udayamperoor, Rayamangalam, Kadungalloor, Karumnallor, Cheranalloor, Vengola and Nedumbassery.

Twenty-four panchayats that failed to act against dumping of waste in waterbodies have also been pulled up for the delay in acting against violators. Strict punishment should be taken against persons who dump waste into waterbodies or in public places. Action should be also taken against those found burning waste in public spaces.

The assessment carried out in April had found that open burning of waste in violation of the rules was prevalent in 15 local bodies in the district. The civic bodies include Ayavana, Avoli, Arakuzha, Payipra, Kaloorkad, Manjaloor, Alangad, Maradi, Varapuzha, Rayamangalam, Karumaloor, Kadungalloor, Cheranalloor, Chittatukara and Kottuvalli.

The recommendations by the State Level Monitoring Committee on solid waste management against unauthorised waste dumping in the district have been gathering dust owing to the lack of support from local bodies. Secretaries have the powers to file complaints against violators before the police. The committee had asked the District Police Chiefs (Kochi city and Ernakulam Rural) to file a first information report and forward it to the District Legal Services Authority and the Kerala State Pollution Control Board so as to facilitate realisation of compensation from violators on ‘polluter pays’ principle.

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