Alappuzha, the coastal town of Kerala has been recognized as a model for solid waste management by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Alappuzha has found the second spot in the report ‘Solid approach to waste: how 5 cities are beating pollution’. Osaka (Japan), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Penang (Malaysia) and Cajica (Columbia) are among other cities.
The report notes that while many have yet to rise to the challenge, these five cities have successfully created ‘a solid approach to waste’. According to the report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose World Environment Day 2017 to launch a drive to address the mountains of trash piling up in streets and landfills across India. “To implement it, cities across the world’s second-most-populous nation could do worse than follow the example of progressive municipalities like Alappuzha,” report reads.
Alappuzha is famous for its backwaters and intricate network of canals and lagoons. “A few years ago, roadsides and canals filled with stinking garbage were threatening coastal Alappuzha’s status as a tourist destination as well as exposing residents and visitors alike to clouds of flies and disease-spreading mosquitoes. Protests by residents had led to the closure of the city’s main landfill site in 2014″, the report states.
“Since then, the city – dubbed “the Venice of the East” for its network of backwaters and coastal lagoons where tourists can rent houseboats – has addressed the problem by introducing a decentralized waste management system. This separates out biodegradable waste at ward level, treats it in small composting plants, and provides many of its 174,000 residents with biogas for cooking,” the report further says.
Last year also Alappuzha received the Clean City Award from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) which included it in a unique forum of cities which have adopted source segregation to become pioneers in waste management in the country.