KOCHI: The biomining of legacy (old) waste at the dumping yard of Kochi Corporation in Brahmapuram has been a controversy for almost 10 years now. The local body hopes the process will be rolled out this month, as an agreement has already been made with Karnataka-based Zonta Infratech private limited in this regard. The project is estimated at Rs 60 crore and has a mobilisation advance of nearly Rs 9crore. Mayor M Anilkumar told TNIE that the corporation has been trying to negotiate with the firm.
“We are all legally committed to biomining the waste at Brahmapuram. The piles of legacy waste are bad for the environment. In one season, we will get only five months (January to May) to clear the waste, considering the weather. This means, over two years, we just have 10 months to clear the waste. The new plant will be meaningful only if we manage to get the legacy waste out. We are expecting help from the state government too,” the Mayor said. The Green Tribunal had earlier directed the corporation to resolve the issue and remove the legacy waste.
WTE plant still in pipeline
In July last year, the council gave a green signal to hand over the 20-acre land at Brahmapuram to the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) for setting up the proposed waste-to-energy (WTE) plant.
However, the legacy waste at the site had to be cleared immediately to avoid any major fire in the area. Usually, major fires are expected in the area during February and March, said Manoj M S, a resident.
“My family had to shift from the area when KSEB started their works. All the families are now residing at least 500 or 750 metres from the dumping yard. People visiting the Subrahmanya Swami temple nearby have to put up with the stench and stray dogs menace. Also, no new houses can be constructed in the area due to air and land pollution. The Kadambrayar river has become polluted after the arrival of paper roll factory, a gelatin company and this wasteland,” said Manoj.
Fear of fire outbreaks
T K Ashraf, corporation health standing committee chairman, is also affirmative the removal of legacy waste will start this month. “Plastic and other waste will be removed from the site, giving way for the construction of the WTE plant. Around 5.25 lakh tonnes of legacy waste is expected to be taken out,” he said.The fire department is prepared with hydrants in case major fire outbreaks occur in February and March, like in previous years. “We have already installed hydrant points that can immediately respond to major fire outbreaks at the plant,” said district fire officer Joji A S.