Kerala, also known as ‘God’s own country’, is one of the most beautiful states in India with its lush greenery and placid backwaters. But come monsoon, and the picturesque state transform into a giant cesspool of plastic waste. The resulting floods caused by choked drains and improper drainage systems makes life a living hell. Any God would think twice before claiming dominion over the land under such conditions.
A majority of this is caused by the widespread usage of single-use plastics (SUPs). Although the state banned the manufacturing, sale, storage and transportation of SUPs with effect from January 1, 2020, it continues unabated.
One has to only look at pictures of the Chittarpuzha river last October, when heavy rains caused water levels to rise. The aftermath was a decrepit pile of plastic sludge left on both sides of the river banks which stank to the highest of heavens.
It is not just the smaller towns and villages that are facing such issues. The capital city of Thiruvananthapuram suffers from the same problem. Every water body in the capital is choked with plastic and waste of every kind, leaving it extremely vulnerable to flash floods.
The situation has grown so dire that the Suchitwa Mission has sought help from the Plastic Fischer to clean its waterways. The project will be implemented as part of Allianz’s CSR programme and will also include Green Worms, a non-profit. A three-year agreement will be signed by the Suchitwa Mission, city corporation and irrigation department with Plastic Fischer for that matter.
The project’s ultimate goal is to collect 550 metric tons of plastic waste in three-years while laying the foundation for a long-term waste management infrastructure. This will help contain the marine plastic pollution in the area and unclog the choked water networks of Thiruvananthapuram.
Plastic Fischer is a Germany-based company that is famous for its plastic waste management and river cleanup projects. The company’s involvement is a huge positive for the city and it will be interesting to see its famous 3L or Triple L initiative at work. Local, low-cost and low-tech solutions have been the watchwords for the company which they say allow them to tackle problems quickly, at scale and also involve the local communities.
Green Worms will take lead and aid in the launch of the project. According to Sreerag Kuruvat, Project Head at Green Worms, the first year will see the installation of 12 systems on storm water drains and rivers to filter plastic waste.
“We plan to collect 78 tonnes of plastic waste during the first. In the second year, we would collect around 300 tonnes. We aim to create around 25 full-time jobs through the project,” he added.
Amayizhanchan Canal, Parvathy Puthanar, Ulloor Thodu, Pattom Thodu and Thekkanakkara canal are some of the major waterways that will come under this project.