Residents of Kinaloor in Kozhikode resumed their agitation on Wednesday, against the government’s proposed biomedical waste treatment plant to be built by Malabar Enviro Vision Pvt. Ltd., a private company.
CPI (M) workers have been supporting the residents in their protest against the construction of the biomedical plant. Balussery CPI (M) Area Secretary Ismail Kurumpoil told TNM, “The acquired plot for biomedical plant construction is within 130 meters from the residential area in Kinaloor. We expect huge problems when bio waste is unloaded. The bio waste will be burnt in the plant and smoke which comes out of it will result in huge atmospheric pollution. It will also contain carcinogens.”
“This proposal was first brought in 2015. I was the Panchayat president then. We had protested and asked the government to shelve the proposal. This is the second time that they have introduced the same proposal", he says.
Ismail also expressed his concerns about ash disposal from the plant.
“Authorities haven’t made their plan of action clear. How are they planning to dispose ash produced after burning biomedical waste from the plant? Also, if machines stop working, bio waste will get accumulated in the plant. This will lead to problems in the future”, said Ismail.
The land acquired for Kinaloor waste treatment plant is also in close proximity to a sacred grove (Shree Kavilum Mavilambadikavu) that is decades old. Expressing his concerns, a resident of Kinaloor says, “This is a sacred place of worship for many residents here, it has to be kept very clean. If this plant is constructed in close proximity to the sacred grove, can the officials promise that the sanctity of this grove will be maintained?”
The waste treatment plant is proposed to be built on two and a half acres of industrial land in Kinaloor. The company had bought the industrial land from Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation on lease and launched the project in April 2015. Residents had staged protests then, which had forced the company to stall the construction of the treatment plant.
According to the proposal put forward by Malabar Enviro Vision Pvt. Ltd, biomedical waste from five districts in Malabar viz. Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayand, will be brought to the Kinaloor plant for treatment.
There is only one biomedical waste treatment plant in Kerala that caters to around 6,000 hospitals in the state. IMAGE (IMA Goes Eco-friendly) was set up in Palakkad in 2003 and has made news in the past over allegations of improper disposal of biomedical waste that included infectious materials, body parts, syringes and needles.