The Government of Kerala has undertaken to apprise the High Court of Kerala of the steps taken for management of solid wastes and cleaning activities in the aftermath of recent floods.
The Court was acting on a Public Interest Litigation filed by Cochin-based Jackson Mathew through Advocate Santhosh Mathew, highlighting the inaction on the part of the municipal authorities in providing adequate facilities for management of solid waste. The petitioner pointed out that Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 , formulated by the Central Government in exercise of powers under Sections 3,6 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act,1986,mandated that all local self government bodies are responsible for collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of municipal solid waste.Further, Section 326 of the Kerala Municipality Act,1994, directed every municipality to make adequate arrangements for the removal of rubbish, solid waste and filth.
The petitioner contended that the Cochin Municipal Corporation and other local self government institutions are not effectively implementing the provisions. The waste collection and its dumping by the Cochin Municipal Corporation is not being done in a scientific manner. The waste pickers and collectors are not provided with hand gloves, appropriate footwear and masks.The lorry comes to collect the garbage once in two days causing hardship to the general public, stated the petition.
He highlighted that the problem worsened in the wake of recent floods, which generated huge amounts of solid waste. On that premise, the PIL sought for directions to take immediate effective steps for infrastructure development for collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of municipal solid waste as per the statutory provisions.
Considering the PIL on Friday, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayasankaran Nambiar sought the response of the government in matter. The Government Pleader P.Narayanan submitted that the Government has issued a series of orders to local bodies with instructions regarding various aspects of waste removal and cleaning activities, and undertook to file a statement producing all government orders. Taking note of that, the Court adjourned the matter to September 19.