The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has issued environment clearance (EC) to set up a solid waste management facility at Bainguinim clearing the path for the government to set up the facility in close proximity to the World heritage sites at Old Goa. SEIAA has accorded the prior environment clearance to the Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) on January 6, 2020 to set up the proposed 250 tonnes (+20 per cent) per day capacity solid waste management facility at Bainguinim in North Goa. “The Goa State Expert Appraisal Committee in its meeting on November 21, 2019 considered the matter from all necessary and relevant angles and after perusal of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report prepared by M/s NEERI, Nagpur and by taking into consideration the suggestions and objections raised by public at the public hearing the committee decided to recommend the said proposal to Goa-SEIAA for grant of EC under the provision of (EIA) Notification 2006,” said Johnson Fernandes, Director of Environment & Member Secretary, Goa-SEIAA in his letter. The proposed SWM facility at Bainguinim will be designed to treat 50 tonnes per day (TPD) of segregated dry waste, 150 TPD of segregated wet waste and 50 TPD of mixed waste. The facility shall comply with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 prescribed by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India.
The detailed EC letter, however, lists several conditions which the project proponent (GWMC) has to comply with. Also, SEIAA has directed the GWMC to comply with several “specific conditions” during post-construction phase such as since the facility will come in close proximity to the residential buildings the said facility of segregation and sorting should be established in completely enclosed shed to control the odour. It should ensure that there is at least one more access made available to the proposed site and the transportation of waste will be in closed trucks with leachate collection facility. The letter said that the EC has been issued without prejudice to the action initiated in the Environment (Protection) Act or any court cases pending in the courts of law. “Hence this environment clearance does not give immunity to the GWMC in the case complaint is filed against, if any, or action initiated under the said Act,” Fernandes said. The validity of the EC will be for a period of seven years from the date of its issue. Further, any appeal against the EC shall lie with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) within 30 days as prescribed under Section 16 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010. Locals and Goa church had raised several questions during the public hearing and had vociferously opposed the construction of the facility near the site which was home to some heritage structures. The plant at Bainguinim, initially proposed several years ago by the Corporation of the City of Panaji, has faced stiff opposition from locals and also the Church authorities who have objected to its location within a five-kilometer radius of the Old Goa Church complex, including a World Heritage Site. Earlier in July last year, an overwhelming majority of people who attended a marathon 10-hour public hearing on the plants environmental impact assessment, had opposed the plant.
Minister for Solid Waste Management Michael Lobo Friday said that the construction of the Bainguinim waste management facility will be completed in 18 months following which Tiswadi’s garbage issue will be resolved. Stating that a cabinet approval will be required before tendering the Bainguinim facility work, Lobo said that the Chief Minister will hold a meeting with Old Goa Panchayat, local MLA and the MLAs from Tiswadi before the tender is floated. He said the tender will be floated within five months and the completion of the plant will take 18 months. Lobo said those raising objection to the Bainguinim plant will be taken to the Saligao waste treatment plant and shown its functioning to allay their fears over stench. “The issue of stench emanating from the Saligao plant has being resolved. The stench was a result of the plant being overloaded with garbage that was brought from as far as Ponda and other parts of the state. After ex-chief minister Manohar Parrikar fell sick, there was no control over the garbage that was brought to the Saligao plant,” Lobo said. He said that residents, who have constructed houses near the plant site are the ones raising objection to the facility coming up there. He said the site was marked in the regional plan before the residential constructions could come up there.