Case study of Zero Waste Kovalam: a progressive waste management program with a focus on the best available technology options and material substitution.
This report documents Thanal's case study of Kovalam's creative solutions to the inter-connected problems of POPs formation from inadequate waste management, including unsustainable material make-up, discards (recoverable items), environmental contamination, non-renewable energy sources and lack of employment, all through a holistic zero waste approach. "Zero Waste Kovalam" addressed these problems by examining materials in waste (developing social and ethical criteria by which products are designed), conducting an audit of garbage generation, and multi-stakeholder (NGOs, hotel, restaurants, civil society, etc) educational survey in Kovalam. The project was implemented with a two-pronged work plan: 1) assessment of the capability of biogas plants for biodegradable materials (resource recovery) and 2) training of women's groups on alternatives to materials such as plastics (material substitution), followed by the creation of a "Zero Waste Center" in 2003 and sub-projects including "poison-free farming," water conservation and community capacity building. The project was successful in deflecting a possible POPs-generating incinerator, implementing materials substitution to prevent POPs formation, and creating sustainable waste management and livelihoods. In February 2006, the Pacific Asia Travel Association awarded Zero Waste Kovalam its Environmental Award.
Case study report (English).
Outputs of actual 'Zero Waste Kovalam' project:
Installation of two biogas plants
Creation of "Zero Waste Center"
Poison-free farming and other training
Creation of women's discards/material substitution operations and sustainable jobs
Establishment of a children's program at the Center
Reduction in waste
Expansion of zero waste idea to other locales such as the Philippines
Environmental award from the Pacific Asia Travel Association