Department of Environment and Forest,UT of Lakshadweep,
Government of India
पर्यावरण और वन विभाग, लक्षद्वीप संघ राज्य क्षेत्र, भारत सरकार

A briefed report on implementation of Solid Waste Management in Lakshadweep Islands

Lakshadweep is a group of coral atolls scattered in the Arabian Sea at average distances of 200 to 400 Km from the mainland. The Lakshadweep group consists of 27 Islands, 6 submerged banks and 3 coral reef areas having a total land area of 32.20 Sq.Km (the average area of the island varies from 0.1 Sq.Km to 4.8 Sq.Km) spread over 2 lakh Sq. Km. territorial waters. The Islands viz Kavaratti, Kadmat, Amini, Chetlat, Kiltan, Bitra, Agatti, Andrott, Kalpeni & Minicoy are the inhabited Islands and Kavaratti is the Administrative Headquarter. The total population is 64,429 as per 2011 census and of this ethnic population, 98% has been classified as Scheduled Tribes because of socio-economic backwardness, geographical isolation, etc. The density of population is 2013 per Sq. Km which is higher than 382 per Sq.Km - the national average.

Lakshadweep, the smallest union territory of the country is blessed with unmatched natural beauty, peace, social harmony and high literacy. The island territory is also bestowed with challenges which are unique to it. The tiny land mass, isolation from the mainland, difficulties in transport sector, lack of connectivity etc., are only some of the bottlenecks that come in the way of development. Each island is an entity scattered in the sea, which in itself is another hurdle as each island has to be catered to individually and singularly. There is lack of avenues for generation of adequate resources even for daily needs. Due to these inherent constrains those have been posed by nature; no major industry is possible in this territory. The geographic location, area, population and distance from mainland to the inhabited islands are shown in Table below:

Sl.No Name of Island Geographical Location Land Area (Sq.Km) Population Distance from mainland (Km)
1. Kavaratti 10° 33’ N 72° 38’ E 4.22 11210 398
2. Agatti 10° 51’ N 72° 11’ E 3.84 7560 450
3. Amini 11° 07’ N 72° 44’ 2.60 7656 403
4. Andrott 10° 49’ N 73° 41’ E 4.90 11191 291
5. Minicoy 08° 17’ N 73° 04’ E 4.80 10444 387
6. Kalpeni 10° 05’ N 73° 41’ E 2.79 4418 279
7. Kiltan 11° 29’ N 73° 04’ E 2.20 3945 389
8. Kadmat 11° 13’ N 72° 45’ E 3.20 5389 402
9. Chetlat 11° 41’ N 72° 43’ E 1.40 2345 429
10. Bitra 11° 36’ N 72° 10’ E 0.1 271 477

Lakshadweep is single line Administration and no urban local bodies or statutory town/cities/Agglomerations are present. The UTLA has 10 village Dweep Panchayat with 85 wards. The total waste generation in Lakshadweep is 2.5 TPD out of which 1.2 are Non-biodegradable waste and 1.3 TPD come under Bio degradable waste. The locals are residing in individual houses and biodegradable kitchen waste is processing through open compost pits in their premises with the support of UT administration. Lakshadweep is considered as Category IV, Town having waste generation less than 50 ton per day as per CPCB National Action Plan for Municipal solid Waste Management. The UTLA do not have Urban Development department. The Department of Environment & Forest is the implementing Authority of Integrated Solid waste management in Lakshadweep. In addition, the department act as local body in the execution of Solid Waste (Management) Rule, 2016 and Plastic Waste (Management) Rule, 2016

The Department of Environment & Forest formulated a comprehensive wastes management system by implementing two major Schemes viz. (1) Scientific Management of Non Biodegradable Wastes to manage collection and disposal of non biodegradable wastes and (2) Sanitation, Health & Hygiene to manages the biodegradable wastes generated in Lakshadweep and implementing it effectively. There is no regular staff for the implementation, however karmachries are appointed on contract basis to run this scheme under supervision of the Department Environment & Forests

Waste generation being one of the crucial consequences of human life, requires special attention in these islands. Because of the porous nature of the soil and also due to the higher water level there is ample chance of ground water pollution on account of accumulation of large quantities of non-biodegradable wastes. Uncollected garbage is not only visually ugly, it also causes diseases. Dumping garbage into landfills is not a viable option in these land scarce islands and has also not been recommended by the Justice Raveendran Committee. The major sources of wastes generated in Lakshadweep islands are from:

  • Bio-degradable wastes like food wastes, fish wastes; vegetable wastes etc. are generated from households, shops and restaurants.
  • Coconut residues like Frond, Stem, Leaf Peduncle, Husk, and Shell
  • Non Biodegradable wastes like plastic carry bags, tetra packs and sacks etc. generated from house hold, institutional, restaurant and shops

The Scheme for Collection & Disposal of Non biodegradable Waste is formulated with the objective to collect, transport, segregate and significantly disposes all sorts of non biodegradable wastes generated in Islands to improve the living surroundings, ensure proper cleanliness, freedom from pollution and giving aesthetic environment to human & wildlife thereby maintaining the healthy biodiversity and bio resources in all Islands for the benefit of stakeholders. Considering the above objective, the department has formulated brief guidelines and circulated for the effective implementation of the scheme Collection and Disposal of Non Bio degradable wastes. 150 Litter blue waste bins are placed all around the Islands for collecting only non biodegradable wastes generated from households. All the waste bins are properly numbered suitable to a location possibly based on wards. The bins possibly marked with GPS and are plotted on the island map. All the accumulated Non biodegradable wastes from the waste bins placed in various parts of the Islands are collected regularly and ensured that each bin are not be kept unattended for more than three days. All the collected wastes are brought in to the central garbage depository and properly segregated at the same time, weighed and properly entered in to the register meant for it. The incineratable wastes are disposed and remaining wastes are sending to mainland for recycling

The collection and disposal of biodegradable wastes are managed under Scheme Sanitation, Health & Hygiene to maintain the cleanliness in the Islands. All the road sides, important public using places were regularly cleaned under this scheme. The scheme Sanitation, Health and Hygiene was conceived with the prime objective to keep the Island clean and neat from the accumulation of biodegradable waste and pollution caused by it with following objectives.

  1. To keep the open space in Islands free from Bio-waste accumulation and pollution.
  2. To keep and regular maintenance of public roads through sweeping and disposal of waste scientifically.
  3. To avoid accumulation of waste at waste dumping open places.
  4. To set up bio manure unit from the collected waste
  5. To have a proper waste generation data for micro planning on sanitation.

All the unattended biodegradable wastes are collected and buried at the place of origin for natural degradation to produce bio manure. The other wastes are used by fisherman for boiling the fishes as part of fish processing

To accomplish the waste management activities and also to strengthen the Department of Environment and Forest in the implementation of the waste management Act and rules, 390 Safai Karmacharies, 56 Safai Assessors and 9 Supervisor have been appointed on contract basis. Further 27 Swachh Dhoot Volunteers (SDV) on contract basis are also posted in all inhabited islands of Lakshadweep under Swachh Lakshadweep Abhiyan for Swachh Sarvekshan work including inspection and report of environmental degradation in ward, beaches and lagoon. The SDV also help the panchayat in capacity building and awareness under integrated waste management.

In order to have an integrated waste management system in Kavaratti, Door to door collection of waste started with effect from 22nd July, 2019. The department of Environment and Forest is the executing and implementing agency under Municipal Solid Waste in Islands. The department collecting solid waste from all the houses present in island.

In addition 35 nos. 150 litre capacity waste bins placed all over Kavaratti for the collection of napkins/diaper from Island.

The department of Environment & Forest have placed order for 10 incinerators with a capacity of 100, 50 and 25 kgs in all the 10 inhabited islands. Out of this, 5 incinerators have already supplied in the islands of Kavaratti, Agatti, Amini, Andrott and Minicoy. Out of this he Municipal Solid Waste Management Incinerator with 100 Kg/Hr capacity at Kavaratti and Agatti are installed and commissioned. Besides, the Department also installed coconut leaf shredder with capacity 15 kg/hr, the plastic bottle shredder with capacity 50 kg/hr and Bio compost machine with capacity 250 kgs/hr in the treatment facility area, Kavaratti on experimental basis.

The Union Territory of Lakshadweep in order to ensure expeditious implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, has decided to prepare an Action Plan for improving Solid Waste Management in all the islands of UT of Lakshadweep in terms of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The Swachh Lakshadweep Abhiyan is the policy and strategy documents made as per Swachh Bharat Guidelines and Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2000 and endorsed during December 2014. The documents made provisions for strategies includes facilities for waste disposal and reuse of materials, priority activities concentrate in regional concept, two tire institutional frame works with evaluation indicators, task & timeline for major departments with budgetary provisions under the UT budget for five years 2014-19. On the basis of above documents and under Solid Waste Management Rule, 2016, the department submitted “The Action Plan for Solid Waste Management for Lakshadweep” during the year 2016. The UTLA also instituted State Level Advisory Body Under section 23 of Solid Waste Management Rule, 2016 and conducted its 1stmeetings on 4thApril 2018. The Final Lakshadweep Solid Waste Management Bye law, 2018 under the Rule published on 24.02.2019. The Lakshadweep Solid Waste Management Bye law has provision to declare solid waste free sanitation zone, impose user charges, power to issue directions, penalties for contravention of offences to local authorities in islands.

The UTLA started collection of waste since 1996 well before the Solid Waste Management Rule, 2000 came into force. The department has 3417 community bin in 85 wards collecting Non biodegradable waste in daily basis. The entire inhabited island has central garbage depository for collection & segregation of the waste. The pickup carry bags, plastic bottles, tires and tubes, tube lights, plastic bottles, napkin, diaper, glass bottles, cement bags, medicine bottles etc. are the main fraction in the waste. Nine incinerators are installed in islands except Bitra for the incineration of napkins, diaper and pickup carry bags which could not be taken by the mainland for recycling. All the recycled materials are transporting to mainland in the UTLA barges specially allocated for the purpose. A total of 437 ton recycled materials transported to Cochin, Kerala for recycle and reuse during the year 2017-18.

The UTLA also adopted Sanitation Conservancy Bye Law, 1998 framed under Panchayat Regulation Act, 1994 for the prohibition and Control of pick up carry bags shown to be adverse to fragile ecosystem in islands.

Under Swachh Lakshadweep Action Plan, 1st Saturday of every month is the Shramadhan Cleaning of all the government institutions and its surroundings. Every 1st Friday of every month will be Cleaning of Educational institutions and its surroundings. Three day long Shramadhan also conducted with cooperation of local people, pachaythe members, SHGs and NGOs before and after monsoon are the flagship program on awareness activity in UTLA since 2014. In addition, various awareness activities viz. Swachh Hi Seva, Swachh Sarvekshan, training program to stakeholders are conducting regularly to achieve zero waste vision.