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for several months, villagers in parts of south Goa have been demanding a halt to construction work on Meta Strips, a controversial copper recycling and smelting plant in Sancoale village. Questions have been raised about the disposal of left-over waste scrap, the large volume of water the plant will require and emissions from the unit.
The earlier Congress government of Luis Faleiro had declared that the plant had no pollution potential and instituted the Justice Sindkar Commission to look into the issues.
The Anti-Meta Strips Citizens Actions Committee ( amcac) has already rejected the one-person inquiry commission. This, they have argued, is not only an environmental issue, but also concerns the allocation of scarce resources like water - many villages are already facing an acute water shortage - and power, besides corruption.
Despite agitations and violence, Meta Strips plans to process imported waste to produce brass (from copper and zinc). The brass is to be rolled to produce 30,000 tonnes of foils and strips per annum meant for export to Europe.
No mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment ( eia) has been conducted, prior to setting up the plant. Environmentalists have cast aspersions on the approval granted to the plant, alleging that the site was sold at a throwaway price. They also say that importing brass scrap violates the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes.