Even as the state government is grappling to dispose of hazardous wastes generated by industrial units, it has been found that toxic wastes are being disposed of at abandoned stone quarries and forestlands of Ponda taluka in a blatant violation of environment norms.
The Navhind Times investigation has revealed that tonnes of hazardous and inert wastes are being dumped at five different locations in and around Ponda taluka. Law enforcing agencies have always been confounded by the ‘disappearance’ of wastes generated by industrial units as there is no common hazardous wastes treatment, storage and disposal facility in Goa.
The 158 industrials units in Goa generate nearly 10,000 metric tonne hazardous waste. Around 40 per cent of the incinerated wastes like cotton contaminated with oil, grease, e-waste, used solvents are disposed of at Taloja, Maharashtra, and the remaining 60 per cent is either stored in the premises of the industrial units or disposed of stealthily at forestlands and abandoned stone quarries.
Visits to the abandoned stone quarries and forestlands at Haddae Kadai, Bethora and Bonbag have thrown light on the surreptitious disposal of hazardous wastes in Goa. Villagers have also claimed that dumping has been going on for more than five years, which has stopped for sometime now. The rubbish of fiber tanks and other fiber wastes from the companies based in Verna and Colvale is seen dumped. A dump of hazardous wastes is covered with a layer of soil. There is a strong possibility that during the monsoons rainwater may carry the wastes downwards to low-lying areas and paddy fields.
The dumping is going on even in private premises of Vaidya Spice farm.
The Goa State Pollution Control Board had earlier taken cognizance of dumping and inspected all five different sites in November, 2012. But till date the dumps have not yet been cleared.
In fact, at a few places dumping of toxic waste is still going on.
A GSPCB report, which is in possession of The Navhind Times, has revealed that hazardous wastes, including cylindrical silicon cutting pipes, silicon fibre, cotton, fibre wool, cardboards, barrels, FRP cylindrical pipes (used for water filters) white powder packed in HDPE bags, were dumped with inert wastes at five different places.
Approximately 20 tonne of white-coloured powder was dumped with inert wastes at a site.
“We had issued a show-cause notice to the contractor of Billava Traders, Mr Ratnakar Pujari, who was directed to clear the dumps,” said the GSPCB chairman, Mr Jose Manuel Noronha.
But the contractor has claimed that he had obtained a NoC from respective village panchayats.
“Of the 10,000 metric tonne half of it was generated by Nicomet industry from Councolim,” said Mr Noronha.
“Things have improved after Nicomet started exporting ore of higher grade as raw material. Moreover, Nicomet has been given two captive landfill sites…,” Mr Noronha said.
The GSPCB chairman said that it was the need of the hour to create a common site to dispose of hazardous wastes generated by all 158 industrial units. Otherwise, gradually all units would have to shut down.
Strongly favouring a common disposal site, the Industrial Waste Management Association president, Mr Joseph D’ Souza said, “As long as common facility is not created such things (waste disposal) won’t be stopped totally, as a few contractors dump the waste as per their convenience.”
He further said that once such a facility is set up there would be total transparency in the disposal of hazardous wastes.
The government is in final leg to complete formality for the common site at Dhardandora to dispose of hazardous wastes. [NT]