Skip to main content

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.
The samples, says a GPCB report, were taken in October and December 2018 following a complaint the official watchdog body’s Vadodara office received from the top environmental  voluntary organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), and Farmers’ Action Group (FAG), representing farmers of the region.
Following the complaint, says the report, officials of GPCB regional office and vigilance office, Vadodara, swung into action with Rohit Prajapati of PSS and Ghanshyambhai Patel and Kirit Amin of FAG, visiting villages in Padra taluka to examine “21 borewells/abstraction wells” after taking their “water samples”.
Borewell samples within the premises on an industrial unit
The GPCB officials who participated in the sample-taking exercise – RP Rana, MV Soni, and MU Patel, all of them environmental engineers – found that, in nine borewells, whose samples were collected from within the premises of an industrial unit in Umaraya village of Padra taluka, the colour of the water was “reddish tinge, reddish, reddish brown or brownish.”
In the 12 other borewell water samples, collected from villages Luna and Umayara in the areas surrounding several other industrial units, the engineers found several variations, ranging from “dark yellow” and “reddish” to “yellowish”. Only five of the 21 samples, including three meant for drinking water, one for panchayat, and one for an industrial unit, were discharging “colourless” water. 
The report says, in the borewell of the farm of Geetaben Patel in village Luna, the water, being used for irrigation for the last six years, was “shining yellow”; in the borewell of Kapilaben Ramanbhai Patel’s farm also in Luna village, the colour of the water – being used by cattle for drinking and irrigation – was “reddish” to “dark yellow”, though earlier it was “light red”.  
Other borewells in farmlands, an industrial unit discharging polluted water 
Further, in the borewell of the farm of Ghanshyambhai Ramanbhai Patel, again in Luna village, meant for agriculture and cattle drinking, the colour was found to be “yellowish”. The borewell of the farm of Gansyambhai Chandubhai Patel, also of Luna village, discharged “light yellow water”, and was being used for agriculture for the last seven years. Then, the borewell of the farm of Rameshbhai Somabhai Padhiyar of Umraya village was also discharging reddish water or pale yellow water for irrigation for the “last 13 years.”
The situation was found to be the same in the water coming out of the borewell of the premises of an enterprise in village Luna, where the water had “reddish tinge”, and the borewell of the farm of Bhadreshbhai Bachubhai Sindha of Umraya village, which discharged reddish water, meant for “agriculture and cattle drinking”.
The report, obtained by PSS on March 11, 2019 following a Right to Information (RTI) plea, suggests that the water in the borewells in Padra villages had “dangerously very high" COD (chemical oxygen demand), said Prajapati, adding, the evidences suggest that groundwater pollution had crossed “even the limit of industrial effluent discharge norms.”
Calculates the environmentalist, COD was found to be 2,225 mg/l on October 16, 018) and 2,722 mg/l on December 26, 2018) in village Luna; TDS (total dissolved solids) was found to be 10,172 mg/l on October 16, 2018, and 11,188 mg/l on December 26, 2018); and BOD (biological oxygen demand) was 198 mg/l on October 16, 2018 and 72 mg/l December 26, 2018.
In his strongly-worded letter to Government of India and Gujarat government officials, warning that if they do not act, it would be construed as “contempt of court of the Supreme Court order, dated February 22, 2017”, in PSS activists’ Writ Petition (Civil) 375 of 2012, and “may result in suitable further action”, Prajapati says, “COD of groundwater has crossed the acceptable or permitted limits of the industrial effluent discharge, which is 250 mg/l COD” -- a “disastrous situation”.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
This is true throughout the country. That is why none of our rivers will never be pollution-free. Maharashtra is supposed to have the dirtiest rivers.

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”