Brahmapuram fire: Toxic fumes engulf Kochi on eighth day, health issues among residents rise

Brahmapuram fire
Excavators used to douse the fire at Brahmapuram solid waste plant. Photo: E V Sreekumar/Manorama

Kochi: The Kochi city and its neighbouring areas were engulfed in toxic fumes for the eighth consecutive day on Thursday.

Dense smog was observed in Kadavantara, Vyttila, Maradu and Panampally Nagar areas of the Ernakulam district.

The work to completely extinguish the fire and smoke at the Brahmapuram plant is progressing. The authorities are using earth-movers to pick up the waste and pump water underneath.

Health issues

The smoke spewing from the Brahmapuram solid waste plant is affecting Kochi residents adversely. The number of people visiting hospitals with lung-related ailments has increased substantially. Many have sought treatment for diseases such as respiratory diseases, colds and skin burns here in the past few days.

Experts in health sector have warned that the residents of Kochi could experience serious long-term health problems if the smoke continues.

Dioxins are toxins produced when organic waste combines with halogenated plastics such as PVC and undergo partial combustion. Smoke containing deadly chemical compounds including dioxin has covered Kochi for more than seven days.

Experts argue that anaerobic decomposition in the absence of oxygen can occur under a 10- to 20-foot pile of solid waste on acres of land. Once the fire starts, it is impossible to put it out because the gases released from it contain flammable methane gas.

Brahmapuram fire
Fire and rescue personnel try to put out the fire which broke out at the Brahmapuram waste treatment plant, in Kochi, Sunday, March 5, 2023. Photo: PTI

Holidays for schools

The Ernakulam district collector has declared a two-day holiday for educational institutions, including professional colleges in and around the city as a precautionary measure due to the fire at Brahmapuram waste dump yard.

The holidays on Thursday and Friday will be applicable in seven local bodies, including the Kochi Municipal Corporation.

The holidays will apply to educational institutions in the grama panchayats of Vadavucode-Puthencruz, Kizhakkambalam and Kunnathunadu and the municipalities of Thrikkakara, Trippunithura and Maradu, besides the city corporation.

Anganwadis, kindergartens and day care centres will also remain closed on these days. However, public exams, including SSLC and higher-secondary exams will go ahead as scheduled, the district collector said in a release.


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