State’s lone biomedical waste plant faces public ire

Leakage from Manthuruthy unit pollutes Malampuzha water: Residents

The State’s lone biomedical waste treatment plant at Manthuruthy, near Malampuzha, here is facing strong public wrath. The local farming community is preparing for a legal battle against the Indian Medical Association (IMA)-owned plant named Image (IMA Goes Eco-Friendly), which processes biomedical waste from 4,800 hospitals across the State and an equal number of clinical laboratories. They plan to file a case in the High Court with the help of environmental and civil society forums. This comes at a time when the revised guidelines of Central Pollution Control Board prevent biomedical waste treatment plants from collecting hospital waste outside a 75-km radius.

“Our demand is permanent closure of the plant which disposes of biomedical waste in a manner that releases carcinogenic gases. As per revised rules, it can treat hospital waste only from Palakkad and Thrissur districts. However, the plant is functioning beyond its capacity, posing severe health hazards to the local community,” said Vilayodi Venugopal of National Alliance for People’s Movements.

At a meeting held in Malampuzha on Monday, it was decided to launch a protest in front of the plant soon.

Scene in Palode

When the plant was set up in 2003, it was promised that four more plants would be set up in other parts of the State to avoid accumulation of biomedical waste in the environmentally sensitive region. The liquid waste from the plant allegedly contaminates drinking water stored in Malampuzha reservoir.

Though the IMA had started work on a plant at Palode, near Thiruvananthapuram, it was stalled because of stiff resistance from the local community.

“There is no justification in bringing all the hospital waste in Kerala to Manthuruthy. Leakage from the plant is contaminating drinking water and it is detrimental to paddy cultivation,” points out M.N. Anvarudheen, activist and medical practitioner. Malampuzha Dam Protection Committee secretary T. Gopalan said cases of skin disease and asthma were reported in the area.

IMA version

Meanwhile, IMA sources claimed that the plant was meeting all norms and was not affecting public health. Closing down the unit without making alternative arrangements would lead to biomedical waste accumulating across the State, they said.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 2:48:28 PM |

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