Questions over Brahmapuram yard still up in the air

Trucks queue up at waste treatment plant to dump organic waste just 3 days after the fire was doused 

Published: 16th March 2023 07:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th March 2023 07:23 AM   |  A+A-

Trucks seen queuing up to dump the organic waste at Brahmapuram waste treatment plant as the garbage disposal at the yard resumed two days ago (Photo | TP Sooraj, EPS)

Express News Service

BRAHMAPURAM:  Although authorities are promising a fresh start, locals worry that the promises will remain in speeches and on paper. Just three days after the government claimed to have doused the fire at Brahmapuram, a convoy of trucks — from the Aluva, Thrikkakara and Kochi local bodies — was seen queuing up on Wednesday to dump organic waste in the yard.     

Though the 12-day-long fire, that broke out on March 2, was completely extinguished on Monday, residents in and around Brahmapuram see no end to their plight. They fear similar incidents will repeat in a dumpyard that has witnessed periodic fires since 2012. 

Many are still suffering from breathlessness and discomfort caused by the smoke emanating from the fire that spread a good distance from the site. However, questions over whether such incidents will be repeated in the future and an effective waste management system would be put in place are still up in the air.

Jabbar, who is in his mid-seventies, wonders when their plight will come to an end. “We cannot think of another such fire. Are the authorities taking effective steps to avoid this in the future?” asks Seenath, his wife. “Jabbar underwent throat surgery two years ago. He suffered severe breathlessness for two-three days due to the heavy smoke,” she said. The Edachira couple’s two-year-old granddaughter has been admitted to hospital with fever.

Seenath and Jabbar at their house in Edachira, one of the many
localities worst affected by the fire at Brahmapuram
waste treatment plant | Pics: T P Sooraj

Babu, another resident, says fires are common at the dumpyard, but it took a massive outbreak and heavy smoke that engulfed Kochi for authorities to view the issue seriously. He said waste in huge quantities were brought to Brahmapuram without segregation for years and there is no effective mechanism for waste disposal. 

“Dense smoke stopped billowed from the garbage dump two days ago, but the air reeked of burning plastic for another day. Now, the situation is back to normal,” he said. The fire and smoke left Mini Sudarshan, who worked as a maid, jobless. “My husband is a construction worker. He suffered severe breathlessness and could not work for two-three days. The family I worked for left for their native place following the smoke, the 44-year-old said.

Health dept reaches out to people 
T’Puram: The Health department has started telephonic surveillance to offer help and support to people facing health issues due to the smoke emanating from the Brahmapuram plant following the fire outbreak. The district response team is calling up people in need and offering guidance. Service of counsellors has also been arranged, Health Minister Veena George said. The door-to-door survey that began on Tuesday has collected details of 7,421 persons so far. The data collection aims to find priority groups, including pregnant women and people with comorbidities, and provide medical attention. Directorates of health services and medical education are conducting the survey. Around 350 Asha workers were given training to conduct the surveys

Yusuffali offers G1 cr
Kochi: Lulu Group chairman Yusuffali M A, has offered financial assistance of D1 crore to the Kochi corporation to address issues related to Brahmapuram plant and assist those who have been affected by toxic air. To improve the garbage disposal system in Brahmapuram and provide medical help to those experiencing respiratory issues as a result of toxic smoke, money is being quickly transferred to the corporation, Yusuffali said. He also promised to assist the civicc body in setting up a medical 
camp for those who live in the areas affected by the smoke. Yusuffali conveyed the group’s decision to Mayor M Anilkumar over the phone. 


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