Court asks polluting plants in Goa to shut down

Published: Tuesday 15 January 2008

the High Court of Bombay at Goa recently asked two industries in Goa to close down their operations. The plants--Sunrise Zinc Ltd and Nicomet Industries Pvt Ltd--which produced 18 tonnes of hazardous waste daily, were operating in the Cuncolim industrial estate in complete violation of disposal of hazardous waste rules for the past 10 years. Nicomet approached the supreme court for relief but a bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan denied relief and fixed the matter for hearing on December 14.

Based on Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute's report on the level of pollution in the units in Cuncolim industrial estate, the Goa State Pollution Control Board had, on November 29, 2006, directed the two industries to set up a captive landfill site to dispose hazardous waste. A new landfill site was proposed, which was to be put into operation by June 2007.

The Cuncolim Municipal Council opposed the proposal saying the site was located on the monsoon drainage line and would contaminate groundwater in the region. The pollution control board then suggested another site for which permission from the Cuncolim Municipal Corporation is awaited.

The high court, however, has made it clear that the two industries cannot begin operations till they complied with all environmental requirements. It has also asked the pollution control board to explain how it proposes to decontaminate the area, where heavy metals were found far in excess of the limit.

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