The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday constituted a committee to probe allegations that a private paper mill had dumped 253.16 tonnes of waste materials (broken toys, glass bottles, cotton waste, used batteries, broken CDs and hand gloves), imported from Greece through the Tuticorin port, in and around Sukkiravarapatti in Sivakasi taluk of Virudhunagar district.

Passing interim orders in a public interest litigation petition filed by a villager, a Division Bench comprising Justice D. Murugesan and Justice M. Duraiswamy directed the Virudhunagar Collector, Superintendent of Police, District Environmental Engineer, a representative of the mill and the petitioner to inspect the site in question and file a report before the court on September 6.

The petitioner said that he came across a news report in a Tamil daily on March 6 stating that the Customs authorities at the Tuticorin port had seized 470 metric tonnes of medical, plastic and paper waste imported from Greece and France in 20 containers. Out of the seized consignment, 11 containers weighing about 253.16 metric tonnes were imported by a private mill at Virudhunagar.

The Customs authorities had ordered to send back all the containers to the countries of their origin within 15 days.

However, the paper mill did not comply with the order; the petitioner alleged and claimed that the entire consignment was disposed of in and around Sukkiravarapatti.

He also alleged that the mill was in the habit of importing medical waste into the country in the guise of raw materials for making paper.

Interim order

The Division Bench in its interim order said: “We are prima facie satisfied with the grievance of the petitioner. The Indian soil cannot be used as a dumping ground by anyone. As this Court can take judicial notice of such medical wastes imported at the guise of other materials and dumped in various places in this State, this must immediately be curtailed and the officers must be directed to take action in this regard.”

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