Waste Management: Is Kochi failing itself?



                Most of us have had the experience of strong stench of garbage cloud our olfactory sensors while commuting through the busy streets of our beautiful Kochi. We hold on to our breath and just try to be off that smelly spot as soon as possible. Our Kochi has been growing in terms of population, economy for a few years now. But with the advent of metro and more and more infrastructure and economic opportunities being added up Kochi is looking at a phase of exponential growth. What accompanies with this growth is the manifold increase in garbage generated every day. Our outdated waste management systems are currently struggling to keep our streets clean and in a few months’ time, if not upgraded will come to a standstill. Queen of Arabian Sea will have to call itself Queen of rotten garbage.

After the introduction of Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October 2014, a public awareness on communal hygiene was successfully established to great extent. It was a waking up call to all government bodies and other establishments to start acting on the vision of a cleaner India. Three years have gone by and there have been efforts from all sides to improve the overall hygiene and cleanliness. Very recently Swachh Survekshan Survey results published by Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India lists the cleanest cities in India. Indore comes out as the cleanest city in the country followed by Bhopal and Vishakhapatnam in that order. It’s quite disturbing to see that none of the cities in Kerala has even a spot in the top 200. Kozhikode tops the Kerala cities with a mere 254 followed by Kochi at 271. The status of other cities and towns are as such: Palakkad 286, Guruvayur 306, Thrissur 324, Kollam 365, Kannur 366, Thiruvananthapuram 372, and Alappuzha 380.


The serious under performer in this list is inarguably Kochi itself. For a city that was ranked 4th in the 2015 survey and 55th in 2016, 271 means a serious drop and fuel for major concerns. The reasons for this as stated earlier can be the exponential growths rates with an outdated management system combined with a governance that lacks a long term vision. It’s not just Kochi though, the whole of Kerala is missing out a great deal when it comes to assistance provided by Central government in association with Swachh Bharat Mission.35 to 40 percent of the expenses will be financed by the central government for states that submit excellent plans for waste removal in cities as per the Swachh Bharat Mission. The center also provides economic support to programs that aim to create awareness on cleanliness. While most other states are promptly responding, Kerala seems to be looking at the opposite direction and has hence not received any funding.

Kochi has to take up this as a Que to improve its game plan towards combating the problem of Waste disposal. One of the major portions of waste generated in Kochi comes in the form of organic wastes. The bulk of the organic wastes come from food-based ventures industries like restaurants, hotels, flight kitchens, hospital messes and gated communities. Organic wastes are easier to dispose of if treated scientifically. But because of the volume of waste generated the common practice is to burn them off with other solid waste. Burning only adds up more smoke and pollution into the environment. Another promising way to dispose of organic wastes or food wastes is decomposition and is followed in different parts of the Kochi. But the challenge for decomposition is that it takes a lot of process time and requires segregation of the waste. For a fast-paced city like Kochi, waste volumes are so high that segregating organic waste will need a lot of manpower.

Difficult situations most often pave way for the creation of unique solutions. Kochi has a problem. A company for Kochi has a solution to offer. Solwearth Eco-tech is a new player in emerging sector of professional food waste management. The company has developed a product named SE Organic waste converter and also the largest Organic waste converter manufacturers in KeralaProduct takes up the organic waste, process it under 15 hours and gives back a supplement which can be used for improving soil fertility. Requires no segregation and needs minimum space. Products like these can simplify the entire food waste management process in urban areas, where time space and manpower is the major concern.


The problem of poor waste management is universal as it is same the everywhere in the world. More people means more waste generated. It’s how the government faculties and the citizen themselves responds to this crisis makes the different. We can either blame each other or start doing something. As government regulations in waste management is getting stringy in other metro cities, soon we will also go down that road. Products like SE food waste converter can be made to efficiently manage waste disposal. If we are waiting for things to get really worse rather than implementing the best choices from the present, a day shall come when our fabled land will be called as land of garbage.

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