Environmental clearance will be obtained before starting Kuthambakkam plant: Corporation

The Chennai Corporation has informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that environmental safeguards and approvals for the proposed solid waste management facility at Kuthambakkam would be obtained before starting any construction activity on the identified land.

Corporation commissioner Vikram Kapur made this assertion in response to an application filed by R. Arumugam, an agriculturist and resident of the village, who alleged the proposed facility would cause pollution in the area.

The NGT Bench had granted an interim injunction restraining the civic body from setting up such a facility on grazing land near Kuthambakkam, on the city’s outskirts. The matter came up for hearing on Thursday.

Mr. Kapur said, “The dumping grounds at Kodungaiyur have been in use for more than three decades. Initially, there were not many habitation clusters near the dumping grounds, but as days passed, residential colonies proliferated. Further, these grounds are getting fully exhausted.”

The Corporation was under pressure to seek alternative sites for setting up facilities for processing and disposing of waste in scientifically-designed sanitary landfill sites, as per specifications laid down in the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000. The Corporation was already behind schedule in setting up the waste processing facilities, he said.

He said the Corporation had neither started any developmental activity nor awarded the contract to any bidder. “The proposed facility is an industrial activity and not crude garbage dumping. There are already industries on the approach road to the proposed land site,” he said.

Seeking dismissal of the application, he said the project would safeguard against factors affecting the environment including contamination of waterbodies, agricultural land and groundwater resources. The matter will come up for further hearing on August 14.

Tribunal calls for Statewide measures

The NGT also said it would direct authorities to evolve a comprehensive plan to prevent illegal dumping of municipal waste across the State.

Hearing applications filed against illegal dumping by local bodies, including Pallavaram, Tambaram, and Rasipuram municipalities, in water bodies, the Bench said it would ask the government, in due course, to identify three sites in each of the districts for establishing solid waste management facilities.

Stating that a monitoring committee would be created to oversee the process, the Bench said, “What we want to see is a scientific arrangement put in place so that arbitrary dumping does not continue.”

RELATED NEWS

War on wasteAugust 5, 2013