The World Health Organisation estimates that 25 per cent of deaths occurring in the developing world can be directly attributed to environmental factors. That this is a serious problem facing India has been accepted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Two scientific studies, one undertaken by the CPCB and the other by the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography, have pointed to the environmental degradation in Mangalore and its coastal waters. The CPCB’s comprehensive environmental pollution index (CEPI) has put the Mangalore industrial area on the list of critically polluted places with a score of 73.68. Clusters scoring above 70 are classified as critically polluted. NGOs have welcomed the indices saying this had come as a justification of their long-felt fears that the industrial lobby, which understandably has to pump in huge funds for greener technology, has not been exactly pleased with the development. Some have even gone on to challenge the authenticity of the index.
The CPCB has posted two detailed reports on its website: one explaining the indices for the 88 industrial clusters and another explaining the procedures and criteria it has followed in assessing the clusters.
The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) study, conducted in 2007 and published in 2008, found that water in the Kulai area between Mangalore and Surathkal was more polluted than earlier.
The latest study lists 22 industries in the region. Quoting available information, it says that Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers discharges 13,000 cubic metres of effluents a day, followed by Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. (7,200 cubic metres of effluents a day) and BASF India Ltd. (3,600 cubic metres). How soon the Governmentinitiates steps to ensure that Mangalore and its coast are not harmed further, remains to be seen.