KOCHI: Industries in Kerala are generating a sizeable amount of hazardous waste. In the 2016-17 fiscal, the hazardous waste generation in Kerala was approximately 38,466.21 tonnes per annum (TPA), revealed the data released by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).“Due to the low number of recycling units for hazardous waste in the state, the industries have to depend on units in other states to dispose of the waste,” said KSPCB officers. A small portion of the generated waste ended up on the premises of the industries itself.
Let’s talk numbers
As per the data, Kerala had 927 registered industries which generated 38,466.20786 tonnes of hazardous waste in the fiscal before last. Of this, 18,805 tonnes of hazardous waste was disposed of in captive Secured Land Fill (SLF) while 15,694 tonnes were disposed of through common SLF at the Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, Disposal Facilities (TSDF). Approximately 3,711.04 tonnes was recycled, while 253 tonnes is still lying on the industries’ premises.
“Though Kerala has a number of industries generating hazardous waste, it lacks the facilities to process e-waste and chemical waste. So, industries have to depend on other states which leads to accumulation of waste making it hard to dispose of it. Kerala mainly depends on SLF to dispose of the industry-generated hazardous waste,” said a KSPCB engineer.
Kollam top in the list
At 281, Ernakulam had the highest number of registered industries which generate hazardous waste, said the KSPCB data. However, it was Kollam, which had 45 industries, that generated the highest amount of hazardous waste – 18,318.595 tonnes – in 2016-17. The 67 industries in Thrissur generated 8601.98 tonnes of hazardous waste in the fiscal, which was second highest. Ernakulam stood third with 6,625.535 MT of hazardous waste generation. Wayanad, which had 20 industries, generated 0.08546 tonnes, the lowest. Kasargod too had 20 industries and generated the second lowest amount of hazardous waste, 24.507 tonnes.
Only 11 recycling units in Kerala
Sadly, Kerala had only 11 hazardous waste recycling units operational, said the data. Of this, six units recycled used/waste oil, while three recycled lead acid batteries. One unit recycles lead, while one recycled copper and zinc bearing wastes.“Compared to other states, the quantity of hazardous waste generated in Kerala is lower. Take Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The two states generate more than 6 lakh tonnes of hazardous waste annually, as they have a large number of industries operational. We have the facilities to dispose of hazardous waste here. There are dedicated agencies which handle hazardous waste,” said M A Baiju, regional chief environmental engineer, KSPCB Ernakulam. He said the state government was planning to introduce more facilities to recycle hazardous waste and a proposal in this regard was under consideration.