The first step should be to make the owners of properties astride the streams and rivers responsible for keeping the waterways in their land areas clean and punish those owners for any plastic or other material floating in the streams and rivers, as is being done in Singapore.
The next step is to introduce grease traps along all existing bathrooms, kitchens and washing places in each house and make this mandatory in towns and villages alike. Factories could be forced to use recycled plastics for the manufacture of these grease traps of different sizes and shapes and sell them in the markets. Plumbers could then fit these traps outside each house to stop the polluted waters flowing into the rainwater drainage systems.
These grease traps could be opened up regularly and cleaned by the occupants of each house. The food particles and other waste materials taken out of these traps can be used as fertilizer for the plants and trees around their houses. Factories should have traps of larger dimensions installed to limit the pollution of the water outflows.
A rough diagram of a small grease trap is attached, which could be easily mass produced in Kerala. By making such as system compulsory for each house, Kerala could become a model for other states to follow and the pollution of all our rivers and waterways could be greatly reduced in the long run.
Low income group house owners could improvise and make these traps with used plastic jerry cans to start with. This would be cost beneficial as well as a good way to use these used jerry cans which are currently being thrown out into rubbish dumps, as there are not sufficient accessible recycle facilities.
The outflows from the third jerry can in the grease trap shown below may also be used for watering the garden plants and trees. If charcoal is filled in the third can, the quality of water will be very good. The cans can be placed on the same level or on a sloping ground at convenient distances and connected with flexible pipe connections.
This filtering system would allow the waste water from our houses to be less of a pollutant in our waterways.
Brig C.G Varghees