OPINION: Kodagu needs state-of-the-art garbage recycling plants

(Garbage menace in Ponnampet. Photo: Kambiranda Bopanna)

By Hareesh K G

‘Use and throw’ has become the mantra of modern-day consumerist world. Things are no different in Kodagu either. For the last 15 years, the garbage problem is on a rise in the district. Much of this credit goes to tourism boom.

Garbage issue which was first witnessed in Madikeri has now spread its tentacles all over the district. People from border areas of Kerala dumping waste in our reserve forests are not a new phenomenon anymore. If one visits Perumbadi and Makutta, we can understand the severity of this problem along the highway. In all the big and small towns garbage menace has become quite common. With no proper recycling measures in place, it is getting worse by the day.

Till early 2000s, Kodagu was garbage-free. As the tourism boom happened, callous tourists started dumping trash along highways and river beds, causing serious damage to environment. Many a times, tourists were caught throwing trash into River Kaveri by local organizations. Despite being highlighted in the media, no concrete measures were put in place to solve this issue. Solid waste leads to water pollution, deterioration in air quality and even creates slums out of nowhere.

We have to adopt scientific methods to solve the garbage issue. As we all know, plastic is the primary culprit. It is difficult to ban use of plastic 100 percent across Kodagu. Segregation of plastic, fiber and glass from the accumulated trash becomes important. Once the separation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste is done, we have to think of recycling measures.
We don’t have the technology for recycling in Kodagu. This is the biggest challenge. We need recycling plants or sophisticated burning plants in at least four to six towns across the district. To convert biodegradable waste into fertilizers, we need composting units.

All these can’t be done by government alone. Therefore public-private partnership models are required. Although a handful of environmental organizations are doing their bit, NSS and Rangers and Rovers units in educational institutions across Kodagu can be utilized more effectively and efficiently going forward.

(Hareesh K G is an Assistant Professor at First Grade College, Murnad, Kodagu.)

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