KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday appointed an Advocate Commissioner to inspect the functioning of the solid waste treatment plant at Vilappilasala. Apart from this, an Environmental Engineer concerned from the Pollution Control Board (PCB) should also inspect the plant, the Court said.
The Court directed the Advocate Commissioner and the Environmental Engineer to inspect the facility on January 14 at 11 am and asked them to file a report before January 17. Advocate K Meera has been appointed as the Commissioner.
A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon passed the order while considering the petition filed by Thiruvananthapuram Corporation secretary T Bhaskaran seeking police protection for dumping waste at the Vilappilsala plant.
Despite repeated pleas by the Corporation’s counsel Nandakumara Menon, the Court declined the request to grant police protection. The Court said that unless the factual situation was ascertained, the request cannot be considered.
The Court directed the Advocate Commissioner to examine whether there was a proper compound wall surrounding the place where garbage is dumped by the Corporation. She should verify whether any construction is going on as stated by the Corporation.
‘’What exactly is the nature of the construction, whether it was a compound wall or extension or expansion of the disposal unit,’’ the Court asked. The Commissioner should also ascertain the distance between the dumping yard and the existing flow of water.
The Environmental Engineer should inspect the disposal unit with regard to its capacity to withstand the disposal of the 250 tonnes of garbage on average basis collected per day by the
Corporation. He shall also inspect the proper safeguards made by the Corporation with regard to aspects like air pollution and water pollution.
The Court asked the police to provide proper protection to the Advocate Commissioner as well as the Environmental Engineer at the time of inspection and also directed to give protection to the officers of the Corporation to go to the site with the team.
The Court directed the Vilappil panchayat and others to see that the joint inspection was carried out without any hindrance.
According to the petitioner, the solid waste accumulated in the city since December 21 has reached an alarming stage. The vehicles of the Corporation carrying garbage are obstructed by miscreants with the full support of the panchayat. This may lead to unhygienic conditions in the city, the Corporation said.
However, the panchayat argued that the capacity of the unit was much lesser that the garbage collected and that the yard lacked a compound wall. It may lead to a situation where the garbage gets mixed with the river water, which would again cause health problems to the local people. ‘’The foul smell and other infectious materials from the dumping yard were resulting in certain skin and respiratory problems to the residents,” the panchayat said.
The panchayat further stated that the PCB had earlier issued several directives to the Corporation, but none of them was adhered to. However, the petitioner submitted that they have taken several steps to rectify the deficiencies. Even if certain defects were found, the unit has been working since 2000 and if the unit was not allowed to work, it would lead to more problems, the Corporation said.