On beaches, a grim reminder of our poor civic sense

Rampant disposal of waste in public places a matter of concern

Recent images showing beaches across the State covered with plastic bottles, carry bags and other refuse after heavy rain and swell waves are a grim reminder of our lack of civic sense.

“We are a State with consumer culture. We use a lot of plastic and other disposable materials in our day to day life, which ultimately find their way into the sea through various channels,” said K.S. Abdul Salim, Director (Solid Waste Management) of Kerala Suchitwa Mission.

Waste management is technically the duty of local bodies, and agencies such as Haritha Kerala Mission and Suchitwa Mission are providing technical and financial assistance to them. However, it is also the responsibility of all individuals who create waste, and the Suchitwa Mission has been organising several awareness programmes for years across the State to drive home the message ‘My waste, My Responsibility’. The agencies have put pressure on the government and local bodies to follow green protocol and have been rewarding individuals who follow it.

However, the rampant disposal of waste into rivers and on the roadside besides burning of plastic shows a lack of awareness among the public, especially in the rural areas.

“If we collect waste deposited on a square kilometre of our beaches, it may amount to at least half a tonne,” said P. Ajayakumar, Technical Officer (Waste Disposal Management) of the Haritha Kerala Mission. He added that only a small percentage of the waste in the sea has found its way to the shores.

“It may take us days to bring our beaches back to normalcy. With COVID and the lockdown, it may be hard to get enough manpower to carry out the task,” Mr. Ajayakumar said. That we have enough facilities to store and recycle the waste thus collected is the only relief for the authorities.

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