“It has come to our notice that after segregation valuable products are being handed over to scrap dealers for a quick buck.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Pilferage of valuable scraps from the non-biodegradable waste collected by Haritha Karma Sena members from households and establishments is turning into a major headache for local self-government institutions in Kerala.
It is learnt that a significant quantity of valuable scrap is being illegally sold to dealers by sena members. Official sources say that segregation has improved and the quantity of segregated waste being collected has increased drastically in the past few months.
“It has come to our notice that after segregation valuable products are being handed over to scrap dealers for a quick buck. These products are unaccounted for, which eventually is a setback to our efforts. These unlicensed scrap dealers exploit these members. They collect these items from sena members by paying a petty amount and later dump the non-valuable items in water bodies and public spaces.
This is adversely affecting the state government’s efforts to determine the quantity of waste generated. There is a huge gap in collection, disposal, scientific handling and actual generation of non-biodegradable waste. We need to find this gap to come up with long-term solutions to tackle the crisis,” said an official source. There are around 33,000 Haritha Karma Sena members in the state.
As per the current arrangement, Clean Kerala Co Ltd (CKCL) collects and handles tonnes of segregated non-biodegradable waste. In an effort to plug the leakage in the collection network, authorities are gearing up to empanel scrap dealers and make them part of the current framework.
Scrap dealers at receiving end
According to unofficial records, there are around 8,000 scrap dealers in the state. According to the state vice-president of Kerala Scrap Merchants Association Mohammad Asif, nearly four lakh people earn a living in the scrap business sector. Recently, the local self-government department held a meeting with scrap dealers to discuss the scope of their involvement in managing waste. On average, around 300 tonnes of non-biodegradable waste from each district is being transported by authorised scrap dealers for recycling and cement factories in other states.
“The government is ignoring thousands of workers dealing in scrap. We are ready to extend all support to the government, but as per current orders, waste should be handed over strictly to sena members. Many scrap workers are at the receiving end and are struggling for survival,” said Mohammad. He alleged that CKCL is associating with scrap dealers for the movement of waste based on their politics. “We have a well-established network across the state and the government can easily resolve the crisis by utilising our service. The government should not ignore these workers and we have raised all these issues with authorities,” said Mohammad.
Streamlining waste management
“We are trying to come up with a framework to ensure waste generated in the state is scientifically handled. Everyone associated with waste management, including scrap dealers, should be part of this framework. Discussions are ongoing with scrap dealers to bring them on board. We are trying to strengthen the existing system and ensure regular incomes for Haritha Karma Sena members. We are trying to record the collection of waste digitally,” said LSGD additional chief secretary Saradha.