Plasma pyrolysis plant in Goa faces stiff opposition

The plasma pyrolysis plant of the Goa Medical College at Bambolim is facing stiff opposition from environmentalists across the state who demand the plant's immediate closure. Green groups claim the plasma pyrolysis plant has been operating since July 2004 without environmental clearance from the Central Pollution Control Board (cpcb).

"We are waiting for detailed reports on the plasma-based pyrolysis technology to initiate our movement against the plant,' says Roland Martins, president of the Goa Documentation Education Solidarity Collective, a Mapusa-based activist group. According to the department of science and technology, plasma pyrolysis is a clean technology and nowhere similar to incineration that generates a lot of solid wastes as by-product; it generates less ash and directly converts biomedical waste into gas. The plant has a total capacity for treating 25 kg biomedical waste per hour; currently it remains under-utilised at 50 kg a day.

But environmentalists say the technology is still in trial stage and is yet to receive approval for commercial use in India. Besides, no emission standard or monitoring system is in place for it. " cpcb 's technical committee's clearance is a must, even for setting up a pilot project based on plasma pyrolysis technology,' says Ravi Agarwal, director of New Delhi-based Toxic Links and a member of cpcb 's technical committee. Plasma pyrolysis system runs on plasma