Updated laws in Kerala enforce strict penalties for waste management violations, imposing fines up to Rs 50,000 and potential imprisonment of one year.
In a significant move towards fostering a garbage-free environment in Kerala, amendments to waste management laws have been promulgated, carrying more severe penalties for violators. Under the Kerala Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023, and Kerala Municipality (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023, recently enacted, offenders now face a hefty maximum fine of Rs 50,000 and imprisonment for up to one year.
Minister for Local Self-Governments M B Rajesh announced the intensified measures, emphasizing the imperative of responsible waste management. The amendments grant the secretary authority to enforce penalties and fines for dumping waste in public or private lands, substantially increasing the previous fine to Rs 5,000.
The revamped laws empower the secretary to impose punitive actions post-hearing, holding violators accountable for their actions. Secretary-appointed officials within local bodies will oversee and execute waste management duties, augmenting measures to tackle improper waste disposal.
This legislative update comes as part of the “Malinya Muktha Keralam” campaign, aiming to enhance waste management responsibility among citizens and impose stricter penalties for non-compliance. Stressing on the need for heavier penalties to deter environmental hazards and safeguard public health, Minister Rajesh outlined the pivotal role of fines in shaping a sustainable future for Kerala.
Crucially, these amendments also hold local self-government bodies accountable and enable penalties should they fail to adhere to the prescribed regulations. Furthermore, the ordinances emphasize the responsibility of shop owners to maintain cleanliness within their premises, authorizing local authorities to seize vehicles involved in improper garbage disposal.
To ensure compliance and fund waste management activities, the government mandates that fines, corporate social responsibility contributions, sponsorships, and other prescribed penalties be channeled into the newly created Waste Management Fund. The funds will be utilized by local bodies to bolster waste management initiatives and enhance overall productivity.
The amended laws signify a bold stride towards fostering a cleaner, more sustainable Kerala, reiterating the criticality of responsible waste disposal practices and introducing stringent measures to uphold environmental integrity and public health.