Panaji: The Goa State Pollution Control Board has found that the international airport at Dabolim is operating without a valid consent under air and water acts. The pollution board also found that the sewage treatment plant at the airport was not functioning.
“As per the board records, the unit doesn’t have the consent to operate for the new terminal building. The board may direct the unit to apply for consent to operate at the earliest and may also apply penalty for delay in obtaining consent to operate,” GSPCB said in its inspection report.
The pollution board inspected the Dabolim airport after it received a letter on May 30 from panchayat minister Mauvin Godinho’s office. The minister’s office forwarded a complaint of May 3 from one Jude Joseph Thypo of Assoi Dongri, who had alleged that the Airports Authority of India was discharging sewage in Assoi Dongri nallah.
After getting the complaint, the pollution board representative along with the health officer of urban health centre in Vasco conducted an inspection on June 20. The officials first visited Assoi Dongri nallah adjoining NH 17B and found water flowing into the nallah from the airport side and the surrounding areas littered with solid waste.
“Water sample from the Assoi Dongri nallah (downstream sample) was collected for analysis,” the board said in the report.
The board officials also visited the AAI’s sewage treatment plant. “The STP was not in operation due to maintenance of sand filter. The STP operator informed that the plant will be put into operation within two days.
Hence, STP sample could not be collected for analysis,” the report said.
The board also observed that the unit has installed flow-meter at the outlet of STP and no flow-meter is installed at the STP inlet.
It also observed that the logbooks were maintained at STP but the records were not in proper order so as to ascertain the quantity of water treated daily.
The officials inspected the garbage sorting facility of AAI and it was observed that the sorting shed is inadequate for the quantum of waste generated.
The GSPCB recommended that the board may conduct performance evaluation of the STP at AAI and also increase the capacity of the garbage sorting shed.
The report also recommended that the board may direct AAI to monitor noise and ambient air quality levels as directed by the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change, reports the Times of India.
According to an earlier PTI report dated 19 June 2017, the Dabolim airport authorities have been asked to apply for consent under the Air and Water Pollution Control Act within 15 days, for its solid waste management.
Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), in its notice issued to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) on June 18 with regard to the management of the Goa facility, has asked them to properly fix the functioning of sewerage treatment plant (STP) and also comply with environmental norms for solid waste disposal.
GSPCB Chairman Jose Manuel Noronha said the airport management will have to reply within 15 days.
Goa airport was in the news for failure to renew its consent to operate under the Act, since 2011.
Noronha said the airport management has begun the process to obtain the consent, which is mandatory for such a facility.
The Chairman also said that if the airport management fails to comply with the directions given by the Board within 15 days, legal action would be initiated.
He ruled out the possibility of closure of the airport, as reported by local media, in absence of consent to operate.
“There is no issue of shutting down the airport. The notice clearly mentions that the legal action would be initiated against the airport director,” Noronha added.
The discrepancies by Goa airport management were noticed by GSPCB officials in March this year, when the facility was inspected as per directions by Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.