Kerala HC directs the State to implement measures for effective waste disposal across Kochi

Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court: The Division Bench of Bechu Kurian Thomas*, and Gopinath P., JJ., took suo motu cognizance of the waste management in the city of Kochi, particularly the improper removal waste from drains that has aggravated the issue of flooding throughout the city, and issued the following directions to the State for ensuring effective waste management:

  1. The Court instructed local authorities under the State to identify and set up plastic bottle collection booths wherever needed.

  2. The State was further directed to provide detailed reports on the mode of plastic waste removal from these booths, including a flow-chart from collection to final disposal.

  3. The Court instructed the State to document the steps taken to educate school students about avoiding waste dumping in public spaces.

  4. Additionally, the Court mandated a comprehensive report on the current waste disposal facilities in the Sate’s six corporations and other districts.

  5. The Kochi Corporation was tasked with exploring measures to remove silt from the Thevara-Perandoor Canal and reporting on the steps initiated.

  6. Furthermore, the Corporation was directed to report on the actions taken to clear waste from the city’s canals and prevent further dumping by commercial and residential entities.

This case stemmed from the substantial waste management challenges faced by the Kochi Corporation, particularly concerning the Brahmapuram site. Over the years, Brahmapuram has become a critical point of waste accumulation, necessitating significant efforts in bio-mining to stabilize and process the accumulated waste. Despite the onset of the monsoon slowing down these efforts, notable progress was reported, with approximately 4 lakh tonnes of legacy waste stabilized and about 2.72 lakh tonnes processed. The Court noted that this progress, while commendable, was part of a larger, ongoing effort to manage waste sustainably across the state.

The Court’s scrutiny extended beyond Brahmapuram to address widespread issues in waste management throughout Kerala. Reports have highlighted the improper disposal of waste, especially plastic, in public areas. In response, the State submitted that it had established around 36,000 Plastic Bottle Collection Booths across various regions, including tourist destinations, to mitigate this problem.

The Court took cognizance of this problem and issued a detailed order comprising of several directives aimed at enhancing waste management practices. The Court acknowledged the ongoing bio-mining efforts and the establishment of plastic bottle collection booths, expressing their appreciation for these initiatives while emphasizing the need for continued and expanded efforts across the state. The Court recognized that public awareness, particularly from an early age, plays a crucial role in waste management. The Additional Chief Secretary informed the Court that the General Education Department had been directed to incorporate waste management awareness into the school curriculum starting from the academic year 2024-25.

Furthermore, the Court addressed specific issues related to waste removal in Kochi as reports indicated that waste removed from drains was often left alongside the drains, leading to further accumulation and potential health hazards. The Court directed the Kochi Corporation to file a detailed report on the measures taken to clear such waste and identify the individuals responsible for these tasks. Additionally, the Court highlighted the necessity of removing silt and waste from canal outlets, particularly in flood-prone areas like Thevara and near the Mattanchery Bridge.

The next hearing in this matter has been scheduled for 14-06-2024.

[Suo Motu Writ Petition, 2024 SCC OnLine Ker 2606, decided on 31-05-2024]

*Order by: Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Advocates for the State: C.E. Unnikrishnan, Special Government Pleader, K. Janardhana Shenoy, Standing Counsel for Kochi Corporation, Additional Solicitor General-in-Charge

Amici Curiae: Vinu T. V., Vishnu S., Pooja Menon

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One comment

  • I live in Angamaly Kochi . I am extremely sorry to say there is no system of waste disposal. No body ever cleans the road or the garbage. No one ever comes to collect waste materials and other garbage. As if Kochi Municipal Corporation has left it in the citizens only to keep their surroundings clean. The worst is the disposal of sanitary napkins and diapers. Either one has to stand hours in sun to burn them or keep waiting for torrential rains to subside, sky to become clear to burn diapers and sanitary napkins. Surprisingly there is no mode or means of disposal of Foil, Aluminium, glasses, tin. Plastic you can give to garbage vendors but you dont know where they will drop it, but tin, glasses old bags, old shoes, foil, do not have any disposal system. You keep collecting them and whe you get transferred like us then you take all that garbage with you and dispose in some other state. So called Godly state where there is no disposal of garbage. How pathetic!

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