Last update:
2020-09-19

Brahmapuram Solid Waste Processing Plant, Kerala, India

The indiscriminate and unscientific management of urban solid waste by the Kochi Corporation at Brahmapuram posed over the years environmental and public health hazards to the residents in the area.


Description:

The Kochi Corporation purchased 37.33 acres of land in 1998 and obtained a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the PuthenCruz panchayath council for setting up a plant that did not materialize then [1] [2]. With previous landfill sites in Kochi becoming unviable, a division bench of the Kerala High Court in 2007 directed the Cochin Corporation to dump or store waste at Brahmapuram until a functional waste disposal plant was set up there [3]. It ordered police protection if the corporation’s activities were faced with protests from the residents around the site. It also mandated that necessary measures be taken to prevent the pollution of water bodies adjacent to the dumping site. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Brahmapuram Solid Waste Processing Plant, Kerala, India
Country:India
State or province:Kerala
Location of conflict:Kochi
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Incinerators
Specific commodities:Land
Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

For the proposed Waste to Energy Plant, the Kochi Municipal Corporation has earmarked the land of about 9.66 hectares. The proposed plant is designed to handle 500 tonnes per day of municipal solid waste and to produce 12.4 MW of power. ha.

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Project area:44.5
Level of Investment:40,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:20,000
Start of the conflict:30/06/2007
Company names or state enterprises:Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) from India - Authorized to invite proposals for handling legacy waste and setting up of the waste to energy plant
G.J Eco Power Pvt. Ltd. from India - The company that was initially awarded the contract to set up the waste to energy plant
Relevant government actors:Kochi Municipal Corporation
Vadavucode-Puthencruz panchayat
Kunnathunadu panchayat
State Level Advisory Committee on Waste Management
National Green Tribunal
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kadambrayar Samrakshana Samithi
Brahmapuram Action Council
Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Infectious diseases, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsHeadache, nausea, giddiness
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Migration/displacement
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The residents of the two panchayats near the waste dumping site have been arguing for a remedy to the situation for over a decade now. Multiple centralized solid waste management projects have been tried over the years and have failed. The waste to energy plant is touted be the permanent solution to this situation and for handling the legacy waste accumulated at Brahmapuram.

However, the plant remains defunct and waste is still being unscientifically dumped here despite people's protests. Thus it is not a case of environmental justice success.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Solid Waste Management Rules 2016
[click to view]

Water (Prevention and Control of) Pollution Act, 1974
[click to view]

Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Solid Waste Management, Landfill Sites, and People’s Resistance:A Study of Two Municipal Corporations in Kerala
[click to view]

[2] Solid Waste Management in Kochi: No Solution to the Age-old Problem?

Lt Col Anil Raj, 2020, Centre for Public Policy Research
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[3] Dejo Kappan v. Corporation of Kerala, 2007, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
[click to view]

[8] The National Green Tribunal Southern Zone Order, 2016
[click to view]

[13]Brahmapuram plant fire gives residents a scare, The Times of India, 2013
[click to view]

[4] The environmental refugees of Brahmapuram, India Together, M Suchitra, P N Venugopal, 2007
[click to view]

[7] Panchayats say ‘no' to new waste treatment plant, The Hindu, G Krishnakumar, K A Martin, 2012
[click to view]

[14] Fire at Brahmapuram plant, Deccan Chronicle, 2014
[click to view]

[5] Independent Fact Finding Committee Report On The Land Filling Site of The Corporation Of Kochi at Brahmapuram, Adv. P K Abraham et al, 2007
[click to view]

[15] Waste-to-energy technology for new Brahmapuram plant, The Hindu, G Krishnakumar, 2013
[click to view]

[16] PCB Holds Hearing on Waste to Energy Plant, the Hindu, 2019
[click to view]

[6] Fact Finding Committee Report, G.O (Rt) No.3015/2018/LSGD, 2018
[click to view]

[12]Brahmapuram plant in run-down state, K S Sudhi, 2015
[click to view]

[11] River Stretches For Restoration Of Water Quality, Central Pollution Control Board, 2018
[click to view]

[9]Brahmapuram waste treatment plant: NGT slaps F1-crore fine on Kochi Corporation, The New Indian Express, 2018
[click to view]

[10]Brahmapuram fiasco: PCB told to recover compensation or face action, The Hindu, G Krishnakumar, 2020
[click to view]

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Last update19/09/2020
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