Locals oppose ‘treatment’ of COVID waste at Khandepar plant


Ponda: Claiming that Ponda is being turned into a COVID hub by the government, Khandepar locals have raised opposition against ‘COVID’ waste treatment in the village through the newly set up medical waste treatment plant.

Villagers claim that the government is planning to bring entire COVID waste from the state in Ponda for ‘disposal.’

However, chairperson of Ponda Municipal Council (PMC) Vishwanath Dalvi has said that medical waste only from Ponda town and neighbouring villages will be treated in the newly set up plant at Khandepar.

As per the available information, the sophisticated medical waste treatment plant from Goa State Urban Development Authority (GSUDA) has been set up at a cost of around Rs 35 lakh, and it has a capacity of treating 1.50 tonne waste per day.

The plant has been set up recently, and its trials have been conducted and learning about the same, the locals from Khandepar are agitated.

The locals fear that in the name of medical waste, COVID waste from the entire state could be treated in their village.

Sandeep Parkar said, “When the government can ensure disposal of COVID or medical waste in respective areas, why is Ponda being made a COVID hub.”

Firstly, COVID centres were opened in Ponda, then first dead bodies were cremated here and then second COVID hospital too was started here and now COVID waste too is being disposed of in Ponda, Parker said, adding that the villagers will decide further course of action over the plant within a short time.

When contacted, PMC chairperson said that the newly set up plant is only for the Ponda town area and neighbouring villages.

Accordingly, the municipality won’t allow medical waste from other areas to be treated or disposed of at Khandepar, Dalvi said pointing out that the municipality has sent back a tempo loaded with medical waste which had come from somewhere else. 

He also clarified that it is not specifically COVID waste, but medical waste which may include material utilised for treating COVID patients.

Speaking further, Dalvi said that the GSUDA has decided to have two such plants, one in Ponda, which is already set up and another in Cuncolim Municipality area. “We have got the plant but Cuncolim is yet to get it,” he informed.

Sources informed that though the plant is fully ready for treating waste, and trials have been conducted successfully, the Ponda Municipality is yet to get requisite permissions from the pollution control board to make the plant officially functional.