Rising mounds of waste invitation to communicable diseases like Hepatitis A and leptospirosis: expert
The uncertainty over solid waste collection following the deadlock at Brahmapuram seems to be escalating as the city remained dotted with garbage piles on Thursday.
The corporation’s sanitation workers had stopped collecting waste after the massive fire at the Brahmapuram solid waste treatment plant on February 22. The corporation authorities decided to suspend waste collection for at least a week following the incident.
Efforts by the district administration to ease the situation had failed after the Vadavucode-Puthencruz panchayat representatives made it clear that waste dumping at the site could not be permitted until safe and scientific steps were implemented to prevent fires in the future.
The waste collection process in major municipalities in the district was also hit considerably as most of them depend on the Brahmapuram facility. With no immediate solution in sight, the garbage situation is likely to turn worse, according to Kochi residents.
According to Junaid Rahman, president, Indian Medical Association, Kochi chapter, the rising mounds of waste is an invitation to communicable diseases. While high temperature is not conducive to the growth of microbes, pile-up of garbage at every other street corner will create conditions leading to outbreak of diseases like Hepatitis A (jaundice), leptospirosis, and even skin problems, he said.
Dr. Rahman said rodents and animals were likely to spread waste dumped in street corners to nearby places. The inherent moisture in dumped waste could generate leachate that would contaminate the surroundings and create conditions for harmful bacteria to grow, he added. Condemning the corporation’s handling of solid waste, he also wondered what the councillors had learned from their study trips abroad.
Hansa Johny, president of Panampilly Nagar Women’s Association, said heaps of garbage could be seen everywhere in the locality, leaving residents worried. “Any delay in resolving the issue may have an adverse impact on the people’s health,” she added.
Mallika, an entrepreneur, said garbage heaps attracted dogs and rats, making life miserable for city residents. “Drains have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Indiscriminate dumping of solid waste into waterbodies has also become a common feature,” she added.
As a long-term plan, Dr. Rahman stressed the need for evolving a waste management culture in the city.