South Korean company’s steel plant and port may impact coast, says expert panel
POSCOÃ”Ã‡Ã–s port halt
The POSCO steel plant and port planned in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district have run into fresh trouble. An expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests deferred its decision on clearing the port project, saying the South Korean steel giant did not furnish sufficient details.
The company had submitted the detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the port near Paradip to the EAC that examines projects in coastal areas, on October 18. The port will be used exclusively for importing coal and iron ore for the plant and exporting steel. The company was unable to furnish details of how the steel plant would impact the coast; the plant may discharge effluents into the sea.
“The company is not sure whether theirs will be a zero-discharge facility. If there are plans to discharge effluents along the coast, it will put a question mark on the clearance granted in 2007,” an EAC member said on condition of anonymity. The ministry had granted environmental clearance to the POSCO steel plant on the basis of a rapid EIA in 2007 (see ‘Ups and downs’). POSCO India’s spokesperson said the company will wait for the final decision before making any comments.
Olive Ridleys at risk?
The port EIA has a number of shortcomings. According to an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a non-profit in Delhi, the EIA fails to address a number of impact parameters. Cumulative impact of the captive port, Paradip port and the under-construction Dhamra port; economic impact on the fishing community; impact on Olive Ridley turtles; and impact of ship movement on the ecology of the area are a few of them.
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