Two top environmentalists from Gujarat have revealed that a recent joint visit of Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) officials in Vadodara’s industrial region has found the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of 890 to 1,022 mg per litre of water in channels which are supposed to carry treated, against the maximum norm of 250 mg per litre.
Pointing out that the latest tests wree carried out between November 21 and 23, 2016 at a village Vedach situated in Bharuch district after the channel passes through 24 villages in Vadodara district, senior environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant have alleged that the high level of pollution in water in the 55.6 km long effluent channel of the Effluent Channel Project (ECP) in Vadodara suggests that ECP is “not able to meet the norms since many years.”
Chemical oxygen demand (COD) test is used as a useful measure the amount of organic pollutants in surface water, including wastewater to ascertain of the water quality. It is expressed in milligrams per liter (mg per litre), which indicates the mass of oxygen consumed per liter of solution.
Asking Government of India to declare chemical emergency for ECP industrial cluster of Vadodara district, even as cancelling consolidated consent and authorization of the Vadodara Envior Channel Limited, responsible for ECP, the environmentalists have also sought cancellation of environment clearance of all the defaulting polluting industries of the ECP industrial cluster of Vadodara District.
In a letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, the environmentalists have said, the ECP channel passes through 24 villages and prime agricultural land, which is known as the vegetable basket of Gujarat.
Commissioned in 1983 to carry treated industrial effluent from industries near Vadodara to estuary of River Mahi, Gulf of Khambhat, the environmentalists say, the channel carries the effluent of Nandesari Industrial Estate and Vadodara Industrial Complex, apart from a number of polluting industries started coming up on along both side of ECP.
“Since 2004 the villages around the ECP channel have experienced ground water contamination at alarming rates”, they say, adding, “The pollution began because of the seepage, leaching, leaking and overflowing of effluent from the channel and later from illegal untreated effluent discharged by number of polluting industries.”
Pointing out that there have been several investigations conducted by CPCB and GPCB, and other agencies appointed by the concerned authorities, they say, the latest in the series of indictments is “Ground Water Pollution In Luna, Dudhawada, Piludara Area Near Vadodara, Gujarat”, released in July 2016, which followed “Report On Effluent Conveyance System for Nandesari Industrial Area And Industries Located Near Vadodara, Gujarat” of February 2010.
“Nobody, neither even GPCB nor industrialists, have denied that the groundwater is severely contaminated and contamination is spreading in different areas and has reached irreversible level because of industrial activities”, environmentalists contend adding, investigations reveal that “almost all wells and bore wells were contaminated.”
Citing a study in Luna Village conducted in May 2015, they say, it “prima facie proved that its ground water is severely contaminated and contamination is spreading”, adding, “In April 2015 another investigation was conducted by GPCB in Dudhwala village of Vadodara district and in villages Piludara and Vedach of Bharuch district, which illustrated the fact that the bore wells of even these villages too are severely contaminated.”