Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Public protest intensified on Wednesday against the setting up of the Common Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility on the premises of Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd. (FACT), Ambalamugal.

A public meeting held at Karimugal marked the beginning of an indefinite agitation against the establishment of the facility. Hundreds of people participated in the meeting, attended by representatives of political parties. Local people said the authorities were moving ahead with the setting up of the treatment plant even when fears regarding the environmental impact of the project remained. People living close to the site had not yet received proper information on the kind of hazardous wastes to be treated at the 20-hectare facility, located close to Chitrapuzha, they said.

An environment impact assessment (EIA) report, prepared by FACT Engineering and Design Organisation, had mentioned that 82,724 million tonnes of hazardous waste was generated in Kerala a year. As much as 87.7 per cent of it was generated by 65 large-scale units. Industrial units in Ernakulam generated 48.7 per cent of it, followed by Kollam district with 39.28 per cent.

Maleril Paulose, working chairman of Rasamalinya Nikshepa Virudha Samithi (committee against disposal of chemical wastes), said the EIA report had not considered the impact of the project on the ecosystem of the area. It was learnt that over 60 industries which intended to participate in the project used nearly 400 chemicals.

The local people said the treatment of hazardous wastes on the site would pollute the environment.The water bodies would also get polluted, leading to severe drinking water problems.