Mumbai: Biomedical treatment plant at Deonar asked to shift Covid waste

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has directed the city's sole biomedical treatment plant in Deonar to divert 50 per cent of Covid waste to the treatment facility in Taloja.

In a reply to the legal notice sent by the Govandi residents for failing to act against the biomedical treatment facility for allegedly releasing harmful pollutants in the form of thick black smoke, MPCB did not report any 'non-compliance'.

Residents of Govandi had sent a legal notice to MPCB on September 11 for allegedly failing to take action against a biomedical treatment plant in Deonar.

In a reply to the legal notice of the resident, MPCB regional officer Dr AN Harshwardhan stated: "We (MPCB) have received various complaints from time to time and after verification of these complaints, the board has issued various directions to the facility from time to time. Earlier, the officials of the board even visited the facility on June 26, 2019 and found various non-compliance. Based on these non-compliances, the board even issued closure directions to M/s SMS Envoclean private limited on July 6, 2017."

However, according to MPCB officials, the company filed a writ petition in the Bombay High court challenging the closure directions. The HC then stayed the closure order on July 18, 2017.

"Following the latest complaint, the officials of MPCB visited the facility once again and Ambient Air Quality Monitoring (AAQM) was carried out for 24 hours at two locations and it was found that AAQM was at permissible limits," an official said.

Furthermore, the reply stated that the black smoke emitting from the chimney for the past few months is of the large amount of Covid waste. As directed by the MPCB on September 17, 2020, the facility SMS Envoclean has been directed to divert / shift 50 per cent of its generated Covid waste to M/s MWML facility in Taloja to reduce the load on its incinerators.

The residents have alleged that it has led to diseases like tuberculosis, asthma and blood cancer and have asked the board to form a technical committee to study this issue thoroughly.

" We have sent a legal notice to MSPCB and if they don't look into our issue we will be forced to take legal help. We want this company to be transferred to some other non-residential area in the city. It has been affecting us, health of residents has been deteriorating.," said Shaikh Faiyaz Alam.

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