SLMC dismayed by missing firefighting arrangements during second fire outbreak at Brahmapuram on March 26

‘No on-site firefighting arrangements found except fire tenders; unless entire legacy waste processed and removed, there was every chance of recurrence of such incidents’.

April 06, 2023 07:01 pm | Updated April 07, 2023 08:16 am IST - KOCHI

Fire force personnel trying to douse the blaze that broke out at the Brahmapuram waste treatment plant on March 26. File

Fire force personnel trying to douse the blaze that broke out at the Brahmapuram waste treatment plant on March 26. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The State Level Monitoring Committee (SLMC) on Solid Waste Management appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has expressed dismay that on-site firefighting arrangements as suggested by the Fire and Rescue Services department were missing at the Kochi Corporation’s Brahmapuram solid waste treatment plant even during the second fire outbreak at the plant on March 26.

The observation was made by SLMC Chairman A.V. Ramakrishna Pillai in his report submitted to the Southern Bench of NGT on the second fire incident. He had instructed the Chief Environment Engineer, Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB), Ernakulam Regional Office, to sent a team for local inspection and to submit a report following the second fire outbreak.

“It was reported by the Chief Environment Engineer that no on-site firefighting arrangements were found except the fire tenders provided by the Fire and Rescue Services department whose timely effort could extinguish the fire around 8.30 p.m. on the same day,” the report said. The fire had broken out in sector 7 of the dumping yard on March 26 around 4.30 p.m.

Mr. Pillai mentioned in the report that he could not personally visit the yard during the second fire as his respiratory problems had precipitated after his previous inspection of the yard after the first fire. He further said that in his previous report he had pointed out that unless the entire legacy waste dumped at the yard was processed and removed on war footing, there was every chance of recurrence of such incidents.

“Till the said process is completed, on-site firefighting arrangements as suggested by the Fire and Rescue Services department [as mentioned in the previous report dated March 13] have to be installed to avoid untoward incidents,” Mr. Pillai said.

In the previous report, the SLMC had held the Kochi Corporation responsible for all the fire incidents at Brahmapuram. In a scathing criticism, the report held that the civic body had failed to abide by environmental laws, orders of the tribunal, as well as repeated directions issued by the SLMC to rectify serious shortcomings at the dumping site.

The SLMC chief, who visited the site on March 6, said in his report that there was no considerable progress in biomining undertaken by an independent service provider.

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