This Article is From Aug 10, 2015

Swacch Thiruvananthapuram: The City's Clean-Up Act

Swacch Thiruvananthapuram: The City's Clean-Up Act

Thiruvananthapuram has emerged the second cleanest state capital in India, just a year after it was steeped in a garbage crisis.

Thiruvananthapuram: Once a stinking, fetid mess, Thiruvananthapuram has really cleaned up its act. It's been ranked the second cleanest city capital city in the country, after Bengaluru.

Overall, the capital of Kerala places number 8 on a list of 476 cities. Mysore is the chart-topper. The evaluation is based on  waste management in cities, along with how much they have been able to control open defacation. The results were released by the Union government over the weekend, as a part of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan or Clean India Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.

In 2011, when Thiruvananthapuram's only waste disposal plant was forced to shut down after protests from locals over mismanagement, the city plummeted into a waste-management crisis. Garbage piled onto the streets during the days; at night, in neighbourhood rivalry, or personal cases of enmity, revenge was taken by people redistributing their garbage outside others' homes.

Last year, after sustained criticism from residents and the media, the local corporation initiated a decentralised system of waste management.  2,500 people including volunteers and NGO workers began a door-to-door campaign to inculcate best practices.

"Our focus is at ensuring biodegradable litter is segregated and reused in compost form at homes itself," says Dilip G of Pelicon Foundation, an NGO partnering with the Muncipal Corporation in providing solutions in waste management.

"Our biggest challenge still remains the apathy of common man and the difficulty in ensuring segregation of waste at source," says P Rajan, councillor of Palayam ward, which churns out 4000 tonnes of garbage everday - the second-largest amount garbage from any part of Thiruvanthapuram.

Apart from Thiruvanthapuram in Kerala, Kochi has been mentioned as the 4th cleanest city in India.

For local body elections scheduled in Kerala over the next two months, waste disposal and management issues are set to be crucial factors for voters.