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Discharge from Gujarat chemical estates' effluent treatment plants is "much higher" than norm

By Our Representative
The latest figures released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) suggest that the levels of industrial effluents discharge through the common effluent treatment plants (CETP) in chemical industrial estates across Gujarat continue to remain “high” and “worrisome”. Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti’s Rohit Prapati and six other environmental activists in a statement, quoting CPCB figures, have alleged, “More worrying as the situation has not changed much after the problem of industrial pollution first came to light in the nineties.”
According to them, “Even after huge investments, CETPs of Vapi, Ankaleshwar and Panoli, the final effluent treatment plant (FETP) of Ankleshwar, and the effluent channel project of Vadodara, are unable to meet the prescribed Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) norms.”
Giving details, the environmental activists said, Vapi CETP’s effluent discharge in its outlet was (as on September 5, 2013):
· COD (chemical oxygen demand) 630 i.e 252% more (GPCB norm is 250 mg/l)
· TDS (total dissolved solids) 10058 i.e 478.95% more (GPCB norm is 2100 mg/l), and
· BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) 56 i.e 186.67% more (GPCB norm is 30 mg/l).
T
he effluent discharged from Vapi’s CETP inlet was COD 2011,i.e. 201% more (GPCB norm is 1000 mg/l), and BOD 709 i.e. 177.25% more (GPCB norm is 400 mg/l).
As for Ankleshwar’s FETP, the CPCB data show that the effluent discharged from its outlet was COD 539 i.e 215.60% more (GPCB norm is 250 mg/l), BOD 128, i.e. 128% more (GPCB norm is 100 mg/li), and ammonical nitrogen NH3-N 191.7, i.e 383.40% more (GPCB norm is 50 mg/l).The the effluent discharged from inlet of FETP was COD 1393, i.e. 139.30% more (GPCB norm is 1000 mg/l), and BOD 336, i.e. 168% more (GPCB norm is 200 mg/l).
Ankleshwar’s CETP indicated that the effluent discharged from outlet of CETP was COD 671, i.e. 671% more (GPCB norm is 100 mg/l), and TDS 16091, i.e 766.24% more (GPCB norm is 2100 mg/l),
Panoli CETP’s effluent discharged from the Outlet showed COD 778, i.e. 778% more (GPCB norm is 100 mg/l), BOD 79 i.e. 263.33 % more (GPCB norm is 30 mg/l), and ammonical nitrogen NH3-N 64.6 i.e 129.20% more (GPCB norm is 50 mg/l).
The effluent channel project of Vadodara was discharging into estuary of river Mahi COD 879 (GPCB norm is 250 mg/l) i.e. 351.60% more, and TDS 7902 (GPCB norm is 5000 mg/l) i.e. 158% more.
The statement quotes the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, to say that the government may issue “directions in writing to any person, officer or any authority and such person, officer or authority” for the “closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry, operation or process” or “stoppage or regulation of the supply of electricity or water or any other service.” It wonders, “While the law is clear, a question arises, why is the Gujarat government not using this power?”
Insisting that there should be immediate “halt industrial effluent discharge at Tadgam Sarigam Pipeline from CETP Vapi, from FETP, Ankleshwar,and ECP, Vadodara, etc.” the statement says, “None of the effluents still meet GPCB and CPCB norms”.
Suggesting that authorities have refused to fight pollution, the environmental experts say, “Despite the polluter pays principle, even in the nineties the then developing CETPs were highly supported by public money; 25% of the cost was state subsidy, 25% central subsidy, 30% loans from financial institute, and 20% directly paid by the industry. Now MoEF has declared that 50% cost will be borne by the Central government, 25% by State government and only 25% cost by the polluting industries. In essence, two-thirds of the proposed solution to the pollution generated for private profit is funded by public money.”
“Ironically”, they say, “This is happening when the state is withdrawing from its social responsibilities, such as education, health care and public transport. It seems paradoxical that the mounting laissez faire sentiment allowed the state to intervene on behalf of industries – which come to exist by virtue of concentrated resources and power – but not for the welfare of the common masses.”
They further say, “The basic questions that remain unanswered by state pollution control boards even now are:
· When the law does not allow discharge of industrial effluent which is not able to meet the prescribed GPCB norms in any water body, how do authorities allow polluting industries to do so endangering natural resources and public health since years?
· Why does the state government and the pollution control board refuse to answer questions about their failure in checking the discharge of industrial effluent and under what legal provisions do they allow the discharge of industrial effluent which is not able to meet the GPCB prescribed norms?
· How could the GPCB act on behalf of industries demanding the lifting of moratorium of Vapi, Ankleshwar and Vatva, and organize press conference for it, but not releasing the data of CETP?

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