The forest officials at Pampadum Shola National Park detained a truck involved in dumping alleged medical and hotel wastes within the forest area on Wednesday. The vehicle was handed over to the Devikulam police for further action, a forest official said.
Devikulam sub-collector Sriram Venkitaraman told DC that stringent action will be taken against the guilty. “The dumping of medical waste, if true, in an ecologically sensitive region is not acceptable. It is a criminal offence and necessary action will be taken,” he said. Charges against the guilty will be framed after getting the details of the incident, he added.
A police official in Devikulam said the driver and conductor of the truck were arrested and further investigation was on. The arrested were identified as Suresh, 24, son of Lokanathan, and Vishnu, 23, son of Ansari.
The truck load of waste brought from Kottayam was proceeding to Chilanthyar in Vattavada in the district for dumping. The police transported the waste to Valayar in Palakkad district for the disposal as it was not possible to keep the waste with unbearable foul smell on the station premises. “So we hired a new driver to take the waste to a proper waste disposal plant at Valayar,” an official said.
The truck will be brought back to the police station after disposing of the waste, he said. Sources meanwhile said that disposing of the waste in Valayar will only help the culprits involved in dumping wastes in ecologically sensitive area to escape from the law. The persons involved in dumping waste had engaged a private property at Chilanthiyar stating they were turning the waste into biological manure. But they buried the plastic and other wastes in the ground, a person in the area said.
Green activist John Peruvanthanam expressed concern over the possibility of medical wastes being dumped in a place like Pampadum Shola. A thorough investigation should be held and the guilty punished, he said. Dr. M. Narayanan, Kochi Chapter president of Indian Medical Association, said that medical wastes from the city was treated at the IMA plant in Palakkad.