Waste Management
A thick blanket of smoke had engulfed Kochi city for days after a massive fire at the Brahmapuram waste plant in February.
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Three months after the massive outbreak of fire at Brahmapuram waste management plant in Kochi, the city corporation is yet to fully implement the recommendations of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed panel.

The chairman of the state level monitoring committee on solid waste management constituted by NGT told TNM that recommendations were yet to be completely implemented.

Soon after the massive fire at the Brahmapuram plant in February, the NGT appointed panel had directed Kochi Corporation officials to implement a set of recommendations including setting up of additional cameras, installing firefighting equipment, dividing large heaps of garbage into small units, creating passage between each of the garbage units, etc.

“In the recent meeting held in the first week of May with Corporation officials, we found that all of these recommendations are yet to be implemented. They are yet to install firefighting equipment and more cameras at the plant,” Justice AV Ramakrishna Pillai, chairman of the state level monitoring committee, told TNM.

A thick blanket of smoke had engulfed the city for days after a massive fire at the plant.

The committee has decided to visit the plant for an inspection to analyse the progress of work. In the previous meeting of the committee in April, Corporation officials were given an ultimatum that works should be completed by first week of May.

“I don’t think there is a similar waste management plant elsewhere in the country. We cannot even imagine the amount of leachate that is produced from the waste piled up there. Leachate from the waste is seeping into the Kadambrayar, a water body located adjacent to Brahmapuram plant,” says Justice Ramakrishna Pillai.

Leachate refers to liquid that takes in substances from the material through which it passes, and often ends up making the liquid harmful.  

Kadambrayar is one of the water bodies listed as ‘Polluted river stretches’ of the country by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). According to it, Kadambrayar is categorised as ‘Priority 5’ polluted.

The water body’s increasing pollution because of the Brahmapuram waste plant, is also a cause of concern for residents living on the banks of Kadamabrayar.

“The issue becomes a concern during the monsoon season. Polluted water from the Kadambrayar enter houses on the banks of the river and is always a major problem for people,” Velayudhan PK, president of Vadavucode-Puthencruz Grama Panchayat, told TNM. 

The Brahmapuram waste management plant is located in Vadavucode-Puthencruz Grama Panchayat limits.

Brahmapuram plant is located in a major industrial area of Kochi, near Kakkanad. BPCL Kochi Refinery, plant of Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) and Infopark –major IT hubs of the state – are located within 5-km radius of Brahmapuram waste management plant where tons of garbage have been piling up for years.

Waste to Energy Plant                         

A project aimed to create energy from waste through ‘Waste to Energy Plant’ is in the pipeline. Kochi Corporation is waiting to get the necessary environmental clearance to start the work.

According to reports, the plant will be constructed at a cost of Rs 336 crore.

As per officials, there will be two units in this, a Biological Mechanical Treatment unit and energy unit. The Biological Mechanical Treatment unit will convert the waste into briquettes (a block of compressed coal dust or peat), whereas the latter will convert that into gaseous fuel.