Munnar is a hill station in the Western Ghats mountain range located in the Idukki district of Kerala. This tourist place is setting an example of effective waste management when travelling spots like this suffer from the issue of mounting waste.
Munnar generates almost seven-tonne waste every day, but instead of throwing it away, it is processed and recycled with the help of community participation to achieve the mission of turning Munnar into a zero-waste town.
KN Sahajan, the panchayat secretary, explained how their town is going ahead toward becoming a zero-waste town. He said that the residents had been instructed to segregate their garbage into three categories—degradable waste, diapers and sanitary napkins, and plastic. He also said that the panchayat had recommended that residents and tourists either avoid using disposable items or purchase products that can be disposed of safely and efficiently.
The secretary said, "Initially, villagers were reluctant to segregate waste properly. However, after persistent efforts, almost every household was linked to the system. 'Haritha Karma Sena' volunteers will collect garbage from households every day, for which a fee of Rs 100 will be charged from each house every month. One volunteer will collect waste from 100 households," quoted The New Indian Express.
How Is Waste Treated?
The Munnar Panchayat has a processing plant in Kallar town, located in the Thiruvananthapuram district, where the waste is processed scientifically by a private company.
A local resident told the publication that the hotels and shops used to serve beverages like coffee and tea in disposable glasses earlier, but now they have switched to steel and glass tumblers.
Along with these small steps, the panchayat is planning to set up septage and wastewater treatment plants so that rivers flowing through the heart of the town remain unpolluted.