The Southern Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) here on Tuesday directed the Union Ministryof Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to file responses to a petition which sought action against Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) for discharging effluents into water bodies at Chavara block in Kollam district.
Originally, Joy Kaitharath, general secretary of State Human Rights Protection Centre of Thrissur had instituted this case as public interest litigation in the Kerala High Court seeking to direct Kerala government to constitute an expert team and to assess the level of radioactivity and impact on public health and environment in the Chavara block. The petitioner also sought to take several remedial measures as the ground water level was affected due to effluents from the unit.
The PIL has been transferred by the Kerala High Court to the NGT for further disposal.
Taking the case on file, the Tribunal Bench, comprising its judicial member M. Chockalingam and expert member Prof. R. Nagendran directed the authorities to file their responses on February 24.
The petitioner said KMML, a Government of Kerala undertaking, was established to produce titanium dioxide out of ilmenite present in the black sand of Chavara.
According to the petitioner, the plant has been functioning without necessary environmental safeguards and causing hazard of radiation, depletion of groundwater, depravation of water for the local people. About 130 million litres of highly polluted water is discharged every year through the old ponds into sub-soil and ground water.
The soil water and ground water in the locality were severely degraded due to hazardous and polluting matter discharged by KMML into environment, he said.