Vadakara shows the way in tackling the waste monster

‘Clean City-Green City-Zero Waste’ project earns civic body huge recognition

The Vadakara municipality has been gaining praise for some time now.

People from other districts and even other States are visiting this coastal town in Kozhikode district these days to learn how it managed to rein in the waste monster so effectively.

Revelling in the glory of awards from NABARD and the State Pollution Control Board, besides a special recognition from the National Institute of Rural Development and appreciation from the Odisha government, municipal chairman K. Sreedharan thanks his people for the success of the ‘Clean City-Green City-Zero Waste Vadakara’ project that has earned the municipality huge recognition.

“A feasible and well-managed system. That is what makes Vadakara’s waste management efforts different,” said C. Kabani, district coordinator of Suchitwa Mission.

Every local body has a waste management system these days under the Swachh Bharat initiative. But it takes a lot more than just following guidelines to come up with a system on which others can be modelled. “Self-sustenance is the key for us. We have made arrangements to recycle a lot of things on our own, instead of just packing waste off to recycling units outside the State,” said Mr. Sreedharan.

Hariyali, the green task force comprising 54 women selected from various wards, is the spine of Vadakara’s waste management system. They charge ₹50 per home and ₹100 or more from commercial establishments as monthly fee for collecting non-biodegradable waste. “They collect various types of waste every month. If it is broken glass this month, it is used cloth the next. Plastic is segregated in 16 categories. Pet bottles alone fetch us ₹21 per kilogram,” the chairman said. A project manager and a project coordinator have been appointed to ensure the smooth functioning of the waste management project.

The municipality has made arrangements to replace plastic bags with cloth bags, by engaging various tailoring units. There are units for repair and recycling of LED bulbs. Following the success of the initiative, the civic body has been entrusted by the State government to set up a Green Technology Centre to cater for nearby panchayats as well.

“There has been a sharp decline in the dumping of waste on the roadside now,” Mr. Sreedharan said. The municipality received ₹1.25 lakh as prize money from various awards. Interestingly, the money has been used to purchase around 5,000 steel plates and glasses to be distributed across wards in an effort to put an end to the use of disposable utensils.

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