Kochi, Oct 18 (UNI) The Kerala Pollution Control Board (KPCB) today recommended to the Customs Department to immediately send back a consignment of US waste, which had arrived at Cochin Port recently, on the ground that it contained prohibited material including municipal garbage and e-waste.
Mr G Rajamohan, Chairman, KPCB, told UNI that a four-member committee constituted by the Board had undertaken an inspection of three container loads of the consignment, totalling about 60 tonnes, at the Container Freight Station at Pettah near Kochi, today.
After the day-long inspection, carried out in collaboration with the Customs officials, the team found that the containers had a ''substantial load'' of prohibited material including municipal solid waste, plastic and metal scrap and computer peripherals.
While 40 per cent of one container consisted of this waste, in the other two containers, the prohibited waste comprised 25 to 40 per cent of the load.
However, prima facie, there was no hazardous material in the consignment, he said.
''In our report, which is being submitted to the Customs Department today itself, we have recommended that the consignment be sent back immediately to the US,'' the PCB Chairman added.
The containers had arrived at Cochin Port recently and were sent to the container freight station two weeks ago.
A random check by the Customs officials had found municipal garbage in the consignment, following which the department asked the Kerala pollution control board to make a detailed examination, which was carried out today.
Customs Deputy Commissioner N S Ramachandran said the department will initiate legal action against the importer for violation of the Customs Act.
A show cause notice would be issued as the first step, he said.
The consignment, imported from New York by Kochin Kadalas, a paper factory in Ambalamugal near here, was supposed to consist of waste paper only.
Earlier, Customs Commissioner D D Ingty had told UNI that other countries should not consider India to be a dumping ground for their municipal waste. ''We will not allow such consignments into the country,'' he said.
Last year, almost 15 containers of waste were seized and sent back from Cochin port, the Customs Commissioner said.