The non-biodegradable waste management system in Thuvvur Gram Panchayat (GP) of Nilambur Tehsil in Malappuram district of Kerala has now become both an inspiration and challenge to other local bodies in Malappuram District, considering that the collection of non-biodegradable items, their storage and segregation are done in the absence of a proper MCF (Material Collection Facility) building, a vehicle or driver.
Thuvvur GP which is spread across an area of 31.38 sq. kms is home to a population of 30,506 individuals from 7050 households.
Under the system that has been adopted there, workers of Haritha Karma Sena collect non-biodegradable waste from houses, shops and institutions at a user fee of Rs.20 and Rs.75 respectively. While household waste is collected once in three months, shop and institutional waste is gathered once a month.
The waste is carried to a temporary shed adjacent to the GP office where the collected materials are sorted into 44 separate items, such as glass, rubber, e-waste, plastic of different grades, etc.
The sorted out scrap material is then sold to local scrap merchants at market price and the amount received is deposited into a separate bank account of the GP; jointly operated by the President and Assistant Secretary.
Non-biodegradable waste includes non-recyclable items such as chappals, bags, multilayer packages, thermocol, etc. Normally, options for disposal of those items are sanitary landfills or use as fuel for industrial purposes.
Lately, the Panchayat authorities have made an agreement with ACC Cement Factory to transport 200MT of such items. Hence, soon after Haritha Karma Sena members collect all types of non-biodegradable waste and separate the same into those that can be sold and not sold, the non-biodegradable rejects are transported to the ACC cement factory without any cost or financial liability to the GP.
This process has been recognized and appreciated as their municipal solid waste earns income, unlike other GPs that are shelling out huge amounts of money to approved agencies to carry their non-biodegradable waste.