KOCHI: Four days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Propylene Derivative Petrochemical Project (PDPP) of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in Kochi, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has directed the PSU to stop flaring and venting activities.The notice was issued based on complaints from the residents of Adookara area near the plant, citing loud noise and severe vibration. A spot inspection by officials revealed that noise pollution was beyond the ambient sound level prescribed for the residential area. The company has been asked to stop flaring and venting activities till adequate control measures are adopted.
M A Baiju, chief environmental engineer, PCB Ernakulam, said the notice was issued by the district office of the environmental engineer. “We have received complaints from Adookara residents over loud sound and vibrations emanating from the flare stack of PDPP. Also, there were complaints about smoke spreading from in and around the flare stack,” said Baiju.
“During the sound level monitoring by environmental engineer, it was found that loud sound from the plant site exceeded the ambient sound level standards prescribed for the residential area. The measured noise level near a residence on the northern side of the flare stack was at a range of 60- 65dB(A). Intense vibration was experienced in that area which might be due to faulty installation and need to be rectified immediately,” he said. According to the residents, the noise and vibration were at alarming levels in the mornings.
“The sound and vibration stimulated the effect of an earthquake, forcing kids attending their online classes and families to rush out of their houses,” said a resident. “Officials who visited here found our complaints to be factual,” the person said. The PCB had earlier too issued cautionary notes to the company for exceeding the noise level. According to the PCB, the team also noticed that the company hadn’t completed installation activities to date.
‘All measures taken to minimise noise’
Meanwhile, the BPCL spokesperson said the company has received the letter from the PCB and is in process of sending in clarification. According to the spokesperson, commissioning activities are under way at the refinery. “We have taken all measures to minimise the noise. For this, additional silencers are being installed. This is in tandem with the requirements pointed out by the KSPCB,” said the spokesperson. “Flaring is an integral part of the safety system of the refinery and hence can’t be shut down. We will be informing the same to the KSPCB. Also, as per the KSPCB’s instructions, the purging of the units to the flare will be reduced,” the spokesperson said.