A public hearing will be held on Tuesday on a Chennai Corporation proposal for setting up an integrated solid waste processing facility within the Perungudi dump yard, at Raja Kalyana Mandapam in Velachery.

Environmentalists and residents claim that the plan to set up a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) unit in the dump yard would further worsen the situation.

The project involves segregation, composting of organic material, pelletisation of refuse and using it as fuel for power generation through incineration, and land filling of the non-degradable waste.

“The proposal allows the Corporation to bring in mixed waste to the site which will defeat the need for source segregation and segregated waste transportation. These are important parts of Municipal Solid Waste (2000) Rules,” said K. Periasamy, president, Sri Sai Nagar Residents Association. “The executive summary of the project also states that the Corporation shall provide 1,400 tonnes of garbage per day to keep the plant running and this will perpetuate the concept of mixed garbage.”

An Expert Committee, set up by the High Court to look into the issue of garbage dumping at Perungudi, in its final report says, “The present site is not suitable for dumping of municipal solid waste” and siting any other facility in the location “is a violation of the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000 and The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (1971).”

Threat to residents

Gopal Kishore of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives said, “Any RDF plant involves incineration and it can pose a serious threat to residents by leaving behind persistent organic pollutants like dioxin.”

Chennai Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni said that since source segregation will take some time, parallel measures have to be taken in the meantime.

“Similar projects have been approved by the Pollution Control Board and incineration will happen in cement kilns at more than 800 degree Celsius. There will be 100 per cent environmental compliance.”

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