Shut down farms that threaten health, environment: panel
The Kerala State Commission for Child Rights Protection has ordered the closure of all types of animal farms which operate without the permission of the State Pollution Control Board (PCB) and pose a threat for public health and the environment.
On Wednesday, Commission Member Reni Antony gave instructions to the Chief Secretary, the Chief of State Police and the Secretary of Local Self-Government.
The commission also ordered the Local Self-Government Secretary, Kollam District Collector, and the Secretary of Melila grama panchayat to take action to immediately close the Upasana Dairy Farm in Melila grama panchayat as it was operating illegally. He also ordered that measures be taken to solve the difficulties faced by the local population due to the pollution of the farm.
The commission was acting on a petition by Binu George, coordinator of the Childline sub-centre, Kollam, that the Upasana dairy farm in Melila’s Seventh Ward was operating illegally and unscientifically. Due to the smell of the farm and the threat posed by insects such as flies and mosquitoes, people, especially children, could not even eat, which negatively affected children’s health.
The Local Self-Government Secretary’s report to the commission said the problem of farm odor and the threat posed by flies was a reality. There was very little distance between the farm and the neighboring houses. The PCB had revoked the farm’s license. The deputy director of the panchayats had ordered that action be taken against the farm, as it continued to operate in unsanitary conditions.
The collector’s report said the feces of the dairy farm animals were responsible for the smell and the flies in the area. Sewage had accumulated around the farm site. There were many houses located within 50 m of the farm. Nearly 15 children of various ages, including babies, lived in these houses and, without proper management of the farm’s waste, sewage and excreta, it would harm their health.
The committee observed that protecting the health and safety of children is the responsibility of society. Allowing farms that create environmental and health problems to operate would be a violation of environmental protection laws and those that protect children’s rights.