Trash, Trash…it is everywhere!

February 2, 2011    
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Well, I decided to take an urban hike from Palarivattom to the heart of the Ernakulam city through back roads last sunday given the traffic would be less and with the hope that I may come across some unexpected and pleasant surprises unseen during my usual jaunts. However, I was entirely disappointed, only to find more of the same, accumulated areas of trash (mainly plastics) and unkempt back roads, at times juxtaposed to rather expansive/expensive homes and upscale business properties.

What can we do about these unpleasant sights of accumulated trash especially in residential sections of the city. Are there not neighbourhood committees who address these concerns. How can one have a beautiful home surrounded by such unattractive sights immediately outside their gates.

My father resides on South Janatha Road and they have a neighbourhood association who takes these concerns very seriously. The other day, I found a large sac filled to the brim, spilling over with plastic trash  outside the gates of my father’s house…not sure how long it had been there, whether it flew off some waste truck or whether someone intentially discarded waste along the way. Either way, I wore my garden gloves, sealed the sac and informed our waste man who checked the sac, found to belong to some waste organization…he immediately reported the concern to our neighbourhood association who then contacted the waste organization, fined them 2000Rs and requested they immediately collect the material and dispose it appropriately without delay which they did. South Janatha neighbourhood association arranged a private waste organization to pick up trash three times a week for all homes(to include the neighbouring poor who needen’t pay toward the cost), some ten years back, after seeing that the city trash pick up was insufficient.

In the States, even if it is the city’s responsibility to address these concerns, the neighbourhoods and buisnesses take great pride in their neighbourhoods, organize volunteers including children to help pick up neighbourhood trash as part of weekend activities. Why can’t we do the same…we need to shed class consciousness and get our hands a bit dirty, be an example to our children to respect our surroundings, our environment…if we wait for the government to do everything,  will be waiting for a long time. What do you say?

There needs to be more landfills, privatization of recycling and waste management, involvement of residences, businesses and individuals to improve this miserable problem!

It is simply appalling that we have allowed such a beautifully green city  to become a land of waste! It is everywhere…simply cannot escape the sight!

Author :

A Mallu, a practising Physician in Family Medicine and Urgent Care in USA, resides partly here in Kochi. Passionate about human dignity and respect for the environment.

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6 Comments

  1. Dear Najmeer,

    Thanks a lot for the posting about Kerala Trash. I was in Kerala during November, December 2010 and have documented the problem from Nilambur to Kovalam. My findings can be seen on http://www.MalinaKerala.com

    The dirtiest places I saw are Thiruvananthapuram – Kovalam (airport road), Vazhakala, Ekm, Kalamassery, Ekm, Kakkanad, Ekm, Elamkulam, Ekm.

    I have a plan and some more ideas which you can see on http://www.GreenKerala.com

    I am looking for partners in Kerala and other places to come up with a concrete plan to clean up the trash in Kerala and keep Kerala Beautiful.

    Please email me tomvell@gmail.com or call me at 516 655 4317

    I live in San Jose, California

  2. Meera Mathew, M.D.

    Dear Tom,

    Thank you for your response to my recent posting on Kerala trash.
    Checked out your website,www.GreenKerala.com and glad to see that you are well on your way to formalizing a trash clean up program.
    I might add that changing the current mindset of Indians who wants the fruits of prosperity and yet live the raja style without getting their hands dirty is a serious challenge. Introduction of the concepts to respect the environment, volunteerism and charity are important to youngsters starting in kindergarden in their schools.

    Have you seen the Cochin Square posting on Waste Management from Oct 7,2010 with reference to a joint venture by a group of NRI’s under ‘Loro Marketing and Trading Pvt Ltd’ with an Irish based ‘Wilson Technology’ to bring some form of waste managment program to Kochi.You may want to contact them to see if there can be joint interest in these efforts.

    I am in Kochi few months of the year and resides primarily in Maryland where I am a practising physician in Family Medicine and Urgent Care. Cochin Square has given me a platform to raise awareness to the Kochiites of the need to seriously change their ways of thinking and lifestyle!

    The previledged Indians are quick to grasp selective foreign concepts if it suits their existing lifestyle without thinking about the long term consequences. I was worried back 12 years ago,when I saw plastics introduction to India without adequate infrastructure to dispose them…my relatives simply dismissed it as an american problem. Now I see abundance of large luxury vehicles on these inadequate roads creating enormous congestion and pollution…another example of the same. It will perhaps take cultural hybrids like us to make the difference…

    Keep me posted,
    Najmeer

  3. saleesh

    Hello,
    I saw the picture for the plastic scrap accumulation. We can resolve this problem by treating the all types of plastic scrap and convert to fuel energy. I am planning to bring the a small project in kerala. For that I am waiting approval to get land and inviting investors who can invest in this project. This plant can eliminate whole plastic scarp from our god’s own country.
    For more details please contact to saleeshjoseph@gmail.com

  4. Najmeer

    Glad to see so much interest amongst NRI’s to clean up trash for Kochi/Kerala. It would be great if the interested groups of NRIs could collaborate and also generate interest from local citizen Indians to seriously participate in this noble effort. Unless there is a sincere interest and effort from the locals who are the perpetrators of this tragic mess, the problem will not get resolved. The investors need to come from the local prosperous Keralites and there are plenty of them to be found.

  5. See the new information to eliminate the plastic from kerala.

  6. Najmeer

    Am back in town. Very glad to hear that Kerala state has
    taken initiate to pass legislation to fine those who litter
    the streets, a fine of 5000Rs and a 2 year jail term if caught
    and reportable by police or by the public, starting 2012.
    It is unfortunate such stiff measures have to be enforced to
    bring back the beautiful kerala we all should be so lucky to
    enjoy and be an example to the rest of the nation.
    Happy and Healthy New year!

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