The National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) has ordered that the project for the Integrated Municipal Solid Waste processing plant of 1400 TPD capacity at Pallikaranai by the Chennai Corporation on the outskirts of the city be kept in abeyance till October 20.

Member of the Authority J.C. Kala passed this order on an appeal from V. Srinivasan of Tiruvanmiyur challenging the environmental clearance granted by the Tamil Nadu State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (TNSEIAA).

The NEAA issued notice to the TNSEIAA, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Chennai Corporation and posted the appeal for further hearing on October 20.

The NEAA, in its order dated September 28, noted that the Guindy National Park was within 10 km of the location prescribed in the EIA report and the area was suspected to be part of marshy/wetland and ordered that further work in the project be kept in abeyance till the next date of hearing on October 20.

The appellant, convener of Save Pallikaranai Marshland Forum, pointed out that as per the 2006 EIA notification, this project required environmental clearance from the Central government on the recommendations of the Expert Appraisal Committee. The project was located within 10 km of the Guindy National park and six km from the Nanmangalam reserve forest and therefore the clearance of the TNSEIAA was without jurisdiction and invalid.

The appellant pointed out that alternative locations not within waterbodies or close to residential areas had not been considered. Therefore, the assertion that this was the most suitable site was baseless. It was submitted that by virtue of its location inside the swamp, the project site would get flooded several times in a year and this would lead to spread of contamination and pathogens through the water to neighbouring communities. The EIA report failed to anticipate floods or prepare for such a seasonal certainty. The appellant sought quashing of the environment clearance granted on June 30 and to an interim stay of the clearance.

Keywords: municipal waste