Brahmapuram disaster: 80% fire extinguished, says minister

Industries Minister P Rajeeve and Local Self-Government Department Minister MB Rajesh during their visit to the Brahmapuram waste plant to assess the situation Photo: Facebook/Ernakulam Collector

Kochi: Kerala Industries Minister P Rajeeve on Friday said around 80 per cent of the fire at the Brahmapuram waste plant has been extinguished.

"Around 678 people sought treatment for various health concerns caused by the toxic haze rising from the fire. Of them, 421 people came to the camp set up by the government. Two people required ICU support," said Rajeeve.

He also clarified that no pregnant women have sought treatment in this regard so far.

Both Rajeeve and Local Self-Government Department Minister M B Rajesh were addressing the media after visiting the Brahmapuram waste plant to assess the situation.

"At present, as per the assessment of health workers and the Indian Medical Association (IMA), there is no serious situation prevailing at Brahmapuram. However, the government is ready to face any crisis. Special camps have been started. Even private hospitals have volunteered to set up camps for the purpose. There is no cause for concern," said Rajeeve.

He also informed that in the high-level meeting convened by the chief minister, it was decided that plastic waste will not reach Brahmapuram under any circumstances.

Meanwhile, Rajesh said measures will be adopted to prevent another Brahmapuram disaster from happening ever again.

"Waste management measures will be implemented across Kochi on a war footing. Starting tomorrow (Saturday) till May 31, the government has formulated an action plan that shall be implemented within 82 days. The plan's fundamental approach would be to dispose of organic waste at the source. The Haritha Karma Sena will be entrusted to collect non-organic waste from the doorstep. A user fee will be charged for the same," said Rajesh.

He further said the collected waste will be stored and segregated at material collection facilities, which will then be processed by Clean Kerala Company and other private companies.

Rajesh also informed that once the garbage piled up in Brahmapuram is cleared, then only organic waste will be transported to the plant.

Earlier, the Kerala High Court appointed a committee to monitor the ongoing firefighting mission at the Brahmapuram plant.

The committee will have the district collector, members of the Legal Service Authority and officials of the Pollution Control Board as members.

A division bench took the decision while hearing a case initiated suo motu over the fire incident. In an oral observation, the court asked how long should the city suffer from the toxic smoke emanating from the burning garbage.

Meanwhile, healthcare workers will conduct a door-to-door survey to identify those who have symptoms of health issues caused by the fire and smoke from the plant. Expert healthcare will be ensured for the affected people. 

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting convened by Health Minister Veena George in Thiruvananthapuram.

Hectic efforts have been on to extinguish the fire at Brahmapuram since it broke out on March 2. Several fire tenders, Indian Navy choppers and personnel as well as firefighting personnel and equipment from oil-PSUs Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, etc were deployed in the last few days to control the blaze and extinguish it.

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