PCB report raps Kalamassery municipality for fires at dumping sites

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board has stated that the Kalamassery municipality failed to initiate measures to check repeated incidents of fire and violation of the solid waste management norms at the civic body’s dumping yard in North Kalamassery.

A preliminary report prepared by the board’s regional office in Ernakulam recalled that directions were given to the secretary of the municipality to take extra precaution to prevent fire incidents at the site. Similar fire breakouts had occurred on March 30, 2020, and March 17, 2021, it said. A major fire broke out at the site around 3 p.m. on January 18.

“There were specific directions to install CCTV cameras but we heard that the cameras were under repair at the time of the latest fire episode. It is unfortunate to note that no protection has been provided there, though several instructions were given to the authorities. They have also not provided enclosed sheds for storing plastic waste, which in turn allow the leachate to percolate into the stream nearby,” according to the board’s report.

Even though the surveillance team of the board’s regional office in Eloor had rushed to the site immediately after the fire, they could not carry out monitoring of the gas and other emissions in view of the heavy fire and thick smoke. About 50% of the old waste at the site was completely burnt down in the major fire, according to official estimates.

The reason for the fire breakout has not yet been ascertained. It may be noted that there is every chance of methane type inflammable gas formation due to the waste dump at the site. Heavy temperatures outside can also trigger a fire, it said.

The dumping site is spread over 2 acres, where heaps of non-biodegradable waste has been lying for long. The biodegradable waste generated in the municipality is transferred to the Kochi Corporation’s dumping site at Brahmapuram.

Besides Kalamassery, other civic bodies dumping waste at Brahmapuram include the municipalities of Angamaly, Thrikkakkara, Thripunithura, Aluva, adn the panchayats of Kumbalangi, Cheranallur, and Vadavucode-Puthencruz.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 9:51:50 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/pcb-report-raps-kalamassery-municipality-for-fires-at-dumping-sites/article38325602.ece