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Kerala amends Municipal Act to implement waste guidelines

Kerala amends Municipal Act
Submitted by Tanveer Padode on August 22, 2022

The Kerala government is prepared to alter the 1994 Kerala Municipal Act with strict requirements to ensure the 2016 Solid Waste Management Rules are implemented. Currently the Act's provision on health includes a subsection devoted to solid waste management. It is intended to include subsections for rules for enforcement and penalty provisions that correspond with the 2016 regulations in a specific clause for solid waste management.

Officials claim that the local self-government agency has virtually finished drafting the amendment which will be brought before the state legislature in a few weeks. The government was recently harshly criticized by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in a case involving the violation of regulations governing solid waste management. The NGT also expressed disappointment that the government had not taken action to close the growing gap between the treatment of solid and liquid waste.

The Kerala Municipal Act came into effect in 1994 and we need to bring in an amendment in the Act to ensure effective implementation of the rules. The concept of waste is not well defined in the KMA and our aim is to introduce a new chapter in the Act said an official of the LSGD.

A study presented by the state government to the NGT revealed that Kerala produces over 3472 tons of solid waste each day of which 781 ton are not treated in accordance with regulations. There are separate stringent rules for disposing of various categories of waste—solid plastic liquid medical waste hazardous construction and demolition and electronics. The new amendment will detail all these components said an official.

The proposed amendment will also include steps to reduce public opposition to trash management. Land acquisition for setting up facilities for waste management often faces public resistance and protest. To resolve this we are considering adding a clause which offers relaxation in property tax employment opportunities and infrastructure development to the affected parties said an official.

Furthermore LSGD intends to include separate sections for waste segregation at the source an effective method for user fee collection and simplified procedures for putting in new waste management regulations for effective enforcement. Due to the time-consuming procedures municipal administrations are struggling to implement new bylaws. The new amendment will include elements that will allow bylaws to be drafted and enacted right away the official stated.

The revision is required for the implementation of the Rs 2300-crore Kerala Solid Waste Management Project (KSWMP) which is co-financed by the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).