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How Kannur Freed Itself of Single Use Plastic 

Indian Masterminds Stories

Located in the coastal region of Kerala and characterized by beautiful mangrove forests, Kannur is completely free of any kind of single used plastic. There was a time when water sources and coastal areas were filled with plastics, but now, even the public has adapted to a plastic-free lifestyle. 

The campaign has been going on since 2017, which has been rebooted with many other initiatives in various panchayats since November 2019. The former District Collector of the district, Mr. Mir Mohhammad Ali, achieved major milestones in this campaign by reaching out to the public, which is now being extended and carried on by the current DC Kannur, Mr. S. Chandrasekar. 

During an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, present DC Kannur, Mr. S. Chandrasekar, gave updates about the ongoing campaign. 

IN THE FOREFRONT

Kannur has been in the forefront since more than a decade in waste management initiatives. Green Election in 2016, Plastic Free Kannur in 2017, Waste Free Kannur (Malinya Mukta Kannur) are some of the initiatives that have helped the district in remaining clean. “People in Kannur have better awareness and concern in the preservation of nature and the importance of cleanliness,” Mr. Chandrasekar said.

HARITHA PATHSHALAS 

To avoid the burning and dumping of plastic waste and other non-biodegradable waste on land and water bodies, Green Schools called Haritha Pathsala are conducted in several regions of the district. Green schools are designed to make people aware of the dangers of burning and disposal of waste. About 5317 green schools have been held till 31 May 2023. They are organized with the help of 322 volunteers from various institutions, libraries, schools, local government bodies, etc.

Schools are conducted day and night keeping in mind local convenience. The volunteers (resource persons) have been trained and work without any remuneration.

Green schools were first started in the district of Peralassery Gram Panchayat. It was then extended to schools, and Kudumbashree neighbourhood groups and self-help groups.

HARITHA KARMA SENA 

The rapid growth of economies and rising living standards led to an increase in the quantity and complexity of the waste generated. Waste management has become a serious issue in the country and Kerala is no exception. The growth of unmanageable waste generation and garbage pile-ups is creating a lot of ecological issues.

Haritha Karma Sena is a professional team consisting of Green Technicians and Green Supervisors who are assigned the responsibility of collection, transportation, processing, recycling/disposal, and management of waste materials in association with respective LSGs.

Green Technicians are trained to provide technical services and solutions on waste management projects. They have to visit a minimum of 250 households in a ward. In one ward, two members of Haritha Karma Sena are positioned – one Green Supervisor and one technician. Besides this, Haritha Sahaya Sthapanams (the accredited agency of Haritha Kerala Mission) provide technical assistance to the Haritha Karma Sena.

HARITHA SANGAMAM 

The first Harita Karma Sena meeting in the state was held in Kannur. Additional Chief Secretary, Mrs. Sharada Muralidharan IAS, Zilla Panchayat President, Mr. P.P. Divya, District Collector, S. Chandrasekhar IAS, led the meeting. The Sena members who came to the meeting explained the problems and crises they faced in the field of waste collection. And, those who had done excellent work were honoured.

GREEN FESTIVALS 

To reduce the volume of plastic and other waste produced during the festivals,

the state government and local bodies have issued some guidelines and instructions. It includes a ban on paper cladding by shop, cleaning facility done by the Green Task Force, and encouraging the use of natural materials in festivals. 

Haritholsavam (Green Festival) started from  Cherukunnu  Annapoorneswari Temple. This intervention has become a huge success with festivals being organized in paddy fields or in the temple premises without littering. The month-long Kottiyur Temple Festival, Kannavam Makham Urus, Andalur Kav Festival Payayavoor Ulsavam, Cherukunn Fatima Mata Devalaya Thirunnal, etc.,  were organized entirely as Haritholsavam or Green Festival.

ANTI PLASTIC VIGILANCE TEAMS

To increase the use of industrial waste in a different way, the district administration has adopted a novel method. An exhibition fair was organized in the Mattanur municipality under the name Harita Bhumika. Forty two entrepreneurs and organizations came to the fair with their products. Ahead of the fair, a meeting of those who make products from waste materials was organized in Kannur.

Besides this, anti-plastic vigilance teams have been formed in all local bodies. All celebrations and ceremonies are subject to strict scrutiny, and it has been made mandatory to register all ceremonies to be attended by 100 people and more, with the local bodies. 


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