Friday, August 30, 2013

First time in a State official vehicle...

a beautiful Kerala State... Ambassador!!!

Another day of meetings with officials of Trivandrum Municipal Corporation, health officers…
They were all very kind, and very helpful, a lot more trying than the guy from Suchitwa Mission, which is supposed to be a helping body between Government bodies and local entities, giving guidelines on waste management: I had an appointment with the director at 10am and finally saw him for 15min at 4pm.
Whole day… wasted! TII: This Is India!
The next day turned as a dream, my dream: a day touring around Trivandum waste facilities on the back of... a Royal Enfield.

Any official vehicle near Villapilchalla would create some real problems, strikes... so the motorbike was incognito!...I felt like a garbage...spy!

But Gosh is it difficult…to get info, to get the authorization to ask for info, to understand those info, not only from the language barrier but just as well from systems differences, governance incredible complications.
Yesterday I met with the chief Health Officer and after 2 written letters on the spot to explain why I was there, where from, what I really wanted, in details… one to her and one to … the additional secretary (the name itself…) then doors opened.
Actually people were really nice and friendly.
It is just the system, which so bureaucratic, so heavy in fact.
It kind of sets the tone for the rest of my visit.
A dump fill, a waste treatment plant that was closed last year because… built in the territory of a panchayat on Tvd Municipality land… where people striked to get it closed…
Smells, leakages…numerous sanitary, health problems at the front, inextricable political battles of power in the back between Congress Party and CPM.

Well in a nutshell, I was now facing a city of more than 1mio people without a waste treatment plant, with numerous salvage points of waste dumping in the middle of the city, called temporary solutions…
In the morning a few meetings with Health Officers, juniors, seniors give me a sense of the complexity of the problem: a governance embedded between central regional government, Municipal Corporation and outskirts villages, panchayats with their own rights and blocking possibilities.

In the case of the dump fill of Villapilchalla, the Municipal Corporation had acquired 56 hectares of land back in 2000 and converted it into a dump fill in their full ownership rights. But after recurring leaking problems surrounding villagers started to block access to the place, striking…
Central government does not like contestation especially when CPM party (Communist party of India) replaces Congress Party.
A majority of key posts in every corporations in Kerala are elected hence very submitted to political decisions.
Which in this case made everything even more complicated.
The dump fill site closed in dec 2011, against a Supreme Court decision.

Leaving a city of 1mio people without Dump fill solutions.
Well this may have the good effect of forcing the Municipality to really find decentralized solutions and non dumping ones.
Like those pipe composting individual house solutions or those bio-bins as well for composting in Flat buildings... looking like coffins!

But the current choices are merely addressing 20% of the waste generated.

How long with take until a plague occurs in those illegal dumping points like it did in Surat in 1994 after repeated floods?

Or simply to intoxicate people with toxic effluents from plastic burning... happening more and more...illegally, uncontrolled

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