Having ushered in a stronger awareness about public cleanliness amid rapid urbanisation, Kerala is working towards pollution-free development in tune with its emphasis on travel and tourism, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said today.

As 90 per cent of the State’s population is projected to live in cities and towns by 2035, Kerala is bracing up for stronger garbage management by converting the challenge into opportunity, he said after launching the Rs 2,400-crore Kerala Solid Waste Management Project (KSWMP) amid the second phase of ‘Malinya Muktham Navakeralam’ campaign which is bolstering the infrastructure to achieve the target in the current financial year.

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“The government is striving to make full use of the possibilities of the increasing urbanisation. As part of this motto, we are implementing nature-friendly development projects, transportation models with minimal air pollution and conservation of water bodies, besides charting new course of waste management,” Vijayan noted at the function presided over by Minister for Local Self Government and Excise M.B. Rajesh in the presence of their Cabinet colleague P. Rajeev (Law and Industries).

Noting that tourism is picking up in post-pandemic Kerala, he pointed out that cleanliness in public places shares a close relation with travel industry in the State.

The KSWMP, which is being carried out in association with the World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, covers state’s entire 93 urban local bodies (ULBs) to be self-sufficient in clearing garbage by March 2024, besides helping them chart out and implement sustainable solid waste management for the next 25 years.

Kerala has one lakh people employed in manufacturing organic manure, recycling industry, waste-rendering even as the state has gone for initiatives such as alternative products, digital technology and processing. LSGs must realise this and work for ways that generate more employment,” he noted. Also, Green Industrial Parks will come up making products out of C&D (construction and demolition) waste, thereby boosting job prospects.

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Minister Rajesh noted that the first phase of KSWMP drew encouraging response, with the percentage of doorstep garbage collection rising from 48 to 78. Of the state’s 93 ULBs (87 municipalities and six corporations), 31 have prepared blueprints where they will carry out sub-projects of big initiatives, he added.

Minister Rajeev, while calling for concerted efforts for the success of KSWMP, unveiled a new design for modern material collection facilities (MCFs) and resource recovery facilities (RRFs), developed by architect G. Shankar.

Hibi Eden, MP formally switched on the KSWMP’s complaints redressal portal.