Lets Go The Alappuzha Way For A ‘Swachh Bharat’

Facebook
Facebook
JanPratinidhi
JanPratinidhi

Lets Go The Alappuzha Way For A ‘Swachh Bharat’


Articles / Environment   /   Oct 22, 2014
karuna Gupta
karuna Gupta
She is a writer. She has done post-graduation in Political Science from Delhi University. She likes writing news stories, blogs and articles. She also likes to analyze political and international events and write stories on them. She wishes to bring a change to the lives of women by attracting the attention of leaders as well as society at large through her articles. Truth is what she stands for.

947
VIEWS
The beauty of Kerala is beyond description. This lush green state with sea water lapping its shores is rightly said to be God’s own country. Kerala gets most of its earning from tourism. Well known for its eye catching varied topography, Kerala attracts a number of visitors from India and abroad.
Being a major tourist attraction it becomes essential for the towns in this state to ensure proper maintainence and cleanliness as a dirty town would repel one and all. Nobody would want to visit it affecting the main source of livelihood of the people there. Such was the situation in the quiet little town of Alappuzha in Kerala located between the Vembanad lake and the sea.

Once a prospering town,it lost its unique attraction being overtaken by Kochi, 60 km north from the town. This ”Venice of the East” as it was popularly known as simply deteriorated. Although backwater tourism revived the town somewhat in 1990 but in order to sustain the inflow of tourists it became essential that the canals that had become garbage dumps and had huge accumulations of silt be cleaned effectively.

The town with immense possibilities had become an unhygienic, uninhabitable place because of lack of sanitation and an onslaught of diseases. Poor health, high death rate and sickness became Alappuzha’s lot. How could tourism ever grow in such a hell?

The waste from the city was transferred everyday to a neighboring processing plant which was more a dump yard creating environmental concerns. In 2001 the people of Alappuzha very strongly opposed this transfer of waste everyday. With centralized processing of the town’s garbage thus stopping, the problem of disposal of garbage in Alappuzha urgently needed a solution for the town to survive at all.

At this time prohibition was put on manual scavenging as a result of raised social voices against the practice. Consequently latrines were built in almost all houses. The human excreta problem being resolved, the next step was to deal with the kitchen waste.

The people till now used to collect all the waste of their individual house holds in a plastic bag. The garbage in these plastic bags was collected by sanitation workers from the municipality and then segregated by these workers as it happens in most of the towns in India even today.

However, Alappuzha gave up this system and a unique novel idea was developed to clean the town by every person’s contribution. This involved segregation of garbage at source. Now the idea had to be implemented and people were first of all required to accept it since segregation of garbage in the very beginning when it is being thrown requires initiative from each and every individual of a town. So mental preparation was essential for the campaign to succeed. The funds being put in by Kerala Government, a campaign was built up to change the mind set and the attitude of the people of Alappuzha regarding garbage disposal.

A bio gas plant or a compost pipe was to be installed in every house to process the organic waste of the household. In case some families were unable to put these up, the organic waste had to be taken to the municipality established collection points. This waste was then processed in aerobic compost bins put up by the Corporation in many areas of the city. This system of aerobic composting was innovated by Kerala Agricultural University. Two tonnes of organic waste can be processed in one such bin taking a time period of three months with dry leaves and cow dung inoculum used for the process. So there is no requirement in Alappuzha now not only of manual scavenging but also garbage collectors and segregaters too are no longer needed.

Everyone cleans up their own mess in Alappuzha now. A fine is imposed on anyone found littering the roads. The town once ill reputed for its uncleanliness has now become the most spotlessly clean place with the combined effort of all. At the same time organic waste has been put to good use here by manufacturing high quality compost from it. There are also separate arrangements for plastic waste which is sent for recycling and even e-waste is being stored separately till the Government sets up a plant for its procession.

In the beginning there was opposition from the people when compost bins were being put up. So the first compost bin was set up in the most stinkingly dirty place. Since nothing could be worse there was no opposition here. This place was converted into a beautiful park with the help of artists. What is amazing is that this Watsan park is actually a place without any kind of bad smell! All meetings for improving and improvising the sanitation campaign are held here. This superb example ended people’s protests, their interest in the campaign grew and so did their involvement.

Commercial establishments too segregate their own waste and either process it themselves or give it to a service provider. This unique and brilliant system has become an example for the whole of Kerala and efforts are being made to implement it everywhere.

The campaign became a success mainly because people were intensively educated through various means. Songs, street plays, exhibitions, parades etc are used for this purpose. Resident Welfare Associations, neighbourhood women, school children, student leaders all together have made sure that the campaign does not fail on any account. Local involvement , local training and local maintenance are key to the success of the sanitation campaign here.

In fact the whole of India must adopt the Alappuzha model to raise the poor level of cleanliness in our entire country. If one town can do it, then so can all with patience and continual effort. If we actually aim for a “Swachh Bharat’ then this definitely is the kind of “Abhiyan’ that must be adopted by us to produce concrete results as Alappuzha has already done.
Alappuzha has shown the way. Lets begin walking in the right direction.

The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi. The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi.
947
VIEWS
Previous Post

Your hair is so whi...

Washington nbsp In the wake of riots in Baltimore where a black man was killed b...
Headlines
Next Post

SOLAR ENERGY REVOLUT...

The greed of us in India is legendary We only have to see an opportunity and th...
Environment