New Delhi: The Kochi Municipal Corporation has been ordered by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to pay Rs. 100 crore in compensation for their alleged negligence in their duties, which resulted in a fire at Brahmapuram, a waste dump site in Kochi. People living around the dump site area suffered from severe breathing problems and other health issues as the smoke engulfed all surrounding areas. According to a health advisory to the general public on March 4, 2023, people were asked to wear masks and stay indoors.
In addition, 120 oxygen beds were set up, 30 fire tenders, 45 excavators, 14 high-capacity water pumps, and four helicopters along with 350 firemen and 150 supporting staff were engaged in mitigation efforts at the site as per an ANI report.
The Tribunal based its decision on a media report which stated that on March 2, 2023, a fire occurred at the waste dump site in Kochi, causing severe air pollution and a public health crisis.
The NGT found that the Kochi Municipal Corporation had neglected their duties for a long time, leading to this incident, and ordered them to pay compensation for remediation measures and to address the public health issues of the victims. The NGT also noted that good governance in waste management had been neglected for a long time, which poses a threat to the rule of law, and called for an inquiry to determine culpability in the larger public interest.
The State authorities were criticized for their attitude of total neglect, and the NGT urged them to uphold the Constitution and the mandate of environmental law.