Posted by: cochinblogger | July 17, 2009

When the City Stank to High Heaven

The municipal authorities in Cochin used to dump the garbage collected from the city on wasteland owned by the Navy, which has a strong presence here. One fine day (in 2007), the Navy gave the municipal authorities (i.e., the Corporation) a month or so to find an alternative site. The garbage was attracting birds, which posed a threat to naval planes and helicopters that flew close by. This put the Corporation in a tremendous spot; Kerala is very densely populated, and vacant areas for dumping garbage were not easy to find. Garbage began accumulating in the streets and in the transit dumping yards. The odor was awful in some neighborhoods. A school principal protested that the smell posed a health threat to her students. Shopkeepers complained that the odor drove customers away. Finally, some land near a central government was identified, a special order passed to quash local resistance, and the problem was solved. Meanwhile, work began in right earnest on a garbage-processing plant that had been hanging fire for one bureaucratic reason or another. The residents of Cochin heaved a sigh of relief.

Below is a scene from that period, at a transit dumping yard in the city.

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