PCB moots ₹41-lakh fine on Kalamassery municipality

Heaps of waste piled up along the National Highway at North Kalamassery in Kochi. Unscientific dumping of waste has resulted in the leachate polluting the Periyar.  

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) has proposed to slap a fine of ₹40.85 lakh on Kalamassery municipality under the ‘polluter pays principle’ for its failure to comply with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, at its dump yard at North Kalamassery.

The assessment made by the Kochi wing of the board has been placed before the State Level Monitoring Committee on Solid Waste Management appointed by the National Green Tribunal for final approval. A notice will be issued to the civic body once the committee ratifies the assessment, according to senior officials of the board who are close to the development.

The penalty on the basis of the ‘polluter pays principle’ was fixed based on the finding that unscientific waste management at the municipality’s dump yard at North Kalamassery had resulted in leachate flowing from the site to the nearby Thoombunkal Thodu. Inspections by board officials found that it resulted in the pollution of the Periyar.

A senior official pointed out that the civic body was operating the dump yard without seeking the approval of the board. Moreover, plastic dumping was being carried out in violation of the rules and regulations related to the management of plastic waste, according to the official. The State Level Monitoring Committee had said in June that the discharge of untreated sewage from Kalamassery township, waste water from Kalamassery market and leachate from the civic body’s waste dumping yard at North Kalamassery had led to the recent fish kills in the Periyar.

It had asked the municipality to draw up immediate plans to ensure scientific waste management. Even after repeated directions from the PCB, the municipality has not taken any earnest step for waste management. It has not provided adequate leachate treatment facility. No proper segregation of waste was being carried out, the committee had pointed out.

The Additional Chief Secretary, Local Self-Government, had then informed the committee that the reply given by the municipality to the notice issued by the PCB after the leachate from the dumping yard flowed into the Muttar river was not satisfactory. Hence, a time-bound action plan had to be submitted to the PCB.

Shiny Antony, Chairperson of the Health Standing Committee, Kalamassery Municipality, said that the situation at the dump site had changed considerably after the civic body started implementing the directives issued by the committee. “We have opened a plastic shredding unit and appointed members of Haritha Karma Sena,” she said.

The board has made it clear that the assessment of the environment damage caused by municipalities and other local bodies owing to unscientific solid waste management was progressing. “Already, we have issued notices and the assessment work will start soon,” it said.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 5:51:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pcb-moots-41-lakh-fine-on-kalamassery-municipality/article29560402.ece

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