Plastic not to be dumped anymore at Brahmapuram waste plant in Kochi: Kerala govt

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Attempts douse fire at Brahmapuram using JCB and chopper | Photo: Matrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi: The Kerala government on Wednesday decided that plastic will no longer be taken to the Brahmapuram waste plant where a fire, which broke out last week, is still smouldering leading to thick toxic smoke spreading out into the port-city of Kochi.

The decision was taken in an emergency high-level meeting chaired by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the wake of the fire at the plant, the CMO said in a statement.

It was also decided in the meeting, that bio-waste will be disposed of at the source as much as possible and the window composting system for organic waste treatment will be repaired urgently, the statement said.

The Chief Minister also suggested holding of meetings in which Ministers, people's representatives, including mayors, would participate to deal with the issue of waste management and disposal, it said.

Earlier in the day, in the wake of the still-smouldering fire at the Brahmapuram waste plant here and the toxic smoke being generated from there, the Kerala High Court said there should be a proper waste management system in the State.

A bench of Justices S V Bhatti and Basant Balaji said the government should strengthen the waste segregation at source and take stringent action against those who dump garbage in public places.

It further said that the entire State should be seen as one city when formulating waste disposal plans and steps should be taken on a war footing to dispose of garbage scientifically.

The bench said that both short and long term plans were needed as solving the current issue would not be a permanent solution to the problem of waste disposal.

The court said that there was no need to file a multi-page report and instead the government should just say exactly how it intends to implement the plans.

It also called for a detailed report from the Ernakulam District Collector (DC) regarding the situation at the waste plant.

The bench also said that the court intervened in the matter as a pollution free environment was a human right and this was being denied to the citizens in many places, including Kochi.

The court was hearing a petition initiated by it on its own based on a letter by Justice Devan Ramachandran regarding the fire which has been burning at the waste plant since March 2.

During the hearing, the lawyer appearing for the Collector told the bench that the Ernakulam DC had advised the Kochi Corporation to be cautious, three days before the fire broke out, due to the rising temperatures in the city.

The Kochi Corporation, on the other hand, said the situation was under control.

It said that another fire had broken out at the site on Tuesday night and that it was put out. It further said that if a fire breaks out again, it can be extinguished immediately.

The corporation also said that there were not enough Harita Karma Sena workers for garbage collection.

The Local Self Government Department of the State told the court that garbage was being collected at the doorstep in the city.

The bench, however, pointed out that there are still areas in Kochi where garbage was not being collected and that there should not be a situation where the whole city is piled up with waste. It listed the matter for further hearing on Friday, March 10.

Meanwhile, at the waste plant earth moving machines and high pressure water pumps were being used to extinguish the fire and smoke, an Ernakulam district administration release said.

Work was progressing at a rapid pace with around 31 earth moving machines being deployed at the site and orders were issued to the Tehsildars to bring more such machines from the district and outside, the release said.

Naval helicopters were also deployed to pump water from above when the wind direction was unfavourable for ground-based operations, it said. PTI

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