26 September, 2020

Clean Up After Yourselves

Nudging people to manage their own waste has transformed Alappuzha

Our City, Our Pride
A composting centre in Alappuzha
Clean Up After Yourselves

Alappuzha in Kerala is one among five cities across the globe that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recognised last year for their sustainable waste management practices. Often referred to as the Venice of Kerala, Alappuzha produces around 58 tonnes of solid waste per day. Today, five years after launching the Nirmala Bhavanam Nirmala Nagaram (‘Clean Homes Clean City’) initiative, the city boasts of clean streets, as all the organic waste is processed either in ­people’s backyards or at the 70 ­com­munity composting centres spread across 23 municipal wards.

“There was no choice, there was no option. The dumping yard was in my constituency in Sarvodayapuram,” says T.M. Thomas Isaac, Kerala’s finance minister, who spearheaded the movement. “The waste was being transported to the area and the town had become littered with garbage. The challenge was to remove the dumping yard and also clean up the city. It was difficult to handle centralised waste management, so the only option was to tackle the...



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