Garment manufacturers in Tirupur have started sending fabric to Punjab, Gujarat and even Colombo for processing as several processing units in Tirupur are not operating because of the pollution problem.

According to G. Karthikeyan, general secretary of the Tirupur Exporters' Association, the garment manufacturers are using fabric stock they had. This would be exhausted soon, affecting exports.

The industry has appealed to the State government to permit discharge of treated effluents with 2100 ppm of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), instead of zero discharge, till a marine discharge facility is created. “We have the technology and machinery for this,” he said.

The industries are currently consuming about 40 million litres of water a day from the New Tirupur Area Development Corporation project. The offtake will be increased and used to treat the effluents to bring down the TDS level.

Some garment exporters have even started exploring options to shift their units to other locations because of the problem, he said.

Premal Udhani, chairman of Apparel Export Promotion Council, said at least four States had approached the council to create ‘Tirupur model' in their States for garment industries.

If problems such as the pollution issue persist for long, it may lead to industries moving out to other places, he warned.