Civic body faces hurdles in transportation, processing of refuse
The Kochi Corporation spends crores each year transporting thousands of tonnes of waste to Brahmapuram, while much of the waste continues to remain piled up at the yard.
For the transportation of waste to the dumping yard, the corporation has been paying contractors an increasing amount each year. In the 2016-17 financial year, the corporation spent ₹3.89 crore to transport waste. The amount rose to ₹6.39 crore in the 2020-21 financial year.
Part of this amount goes towards renting trucks for waste transportation. The civic agency owns 94 vehicles for waste transportation as per official records.
“These include both large and small vehicles. Only few of the trucks are currently in use, and several of the vehicles used for transportation are being hired,” said T.K. Ashraf, Health Standing Committee chairperson. He added that the transport expenses were routine, and included the salaries of those transporting waste.
Since the vehicles that the corporation owns to transport waste were not being maintained well, they develop snags and were easily abandoned, said V.K. Minimol, UDF councillor. Consequently, vehicles are hired on a daily basis, said Ms. Minimol, who was the health standing committee chairperson for roughly half of the previous council’s term.
On an average, 28 truckloads of waste are transported to the yard daily. Corporation records say that the local body collects waste from 2,22,557 homes and 487 hotels. Mr. Ashraf said that an average of 300 tonnes of waste arrive at the plant daily, including the waste collected from other municipalities and panchayats. Data from the corporation says that around 6,112 tonnes of waste was dumped at the site in March alone this year.
Of this total amount of waste, a small fraction is being processed. Sources at the corporation said that around 10 to 20 tonnes of compost were being generated daily. Mr. Ashraf said that the compost generated is 10% of the total quantity of waste that is treated.
While much of the waste piles up at the site, the corporation collects a tipping fee to process the waste from the other local bodies that dump garbage at Brahmapuram. The Cheranalloor panchayat paid the highest amount to the corporation at ₹81 lakh in the 2020-21 financial year. Kalamassery and Thrikkakara municipalities paid over ₹51 lakh each to the corporation in the same year, and the Kumbalangi panchayat paid ₹35.78 lakh, followed by smaller amounts by Aluva, Angamaly and Thripunithura municipalities.
To set up a new shed in place of the crumbling one that houses the windrow composting system, a detailed project report is being prepared, Mr. Ashraf said. The non-biodegradable waste at the site can only be bio-mined, he added. Mayor M. Anilkumar said that a detailed plan was being drawn up to overhaul the dumping yard and set up a functioning treatment system.
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