The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has despatched a team of scientists to Mangalore to assess the impact and level of pollution following a recent revelation that the city was the most critically polluted industrial centre in the State.
State Minister for Ecology and Environment Department J. Krishna Palemar told presspersons on Thursday that the team of scientists would analyse air, water and soil pollution around five industries, including Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. and BASF India Pvt Ltd. The team would come out with their findings in a few days, he said after his address to the Scientists’ Conference on conservation of Western Ghats.
A recent study of 88 industrial hubs in the country by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) revealed that Mangalore was among 43 “critically” polluted industrial areas in the country, along with Bhadravati in Shimoga district.
Mr. Palemar added that the Union Government had issued a circular stating that no clearances would be given for new projects for the next eight months. CPCB’s study had also found that industrial centres in Raichur, Bidar and Peenya were “severely” polluted. Speaking at the scientists’ conference, Ananth Hegde Ashisar, honorary Chairman of the Western Ghats Task Force, proposed an exclusive research centre for studying the Western Ghats — one of the world’s 20 “biodiversity hotspots”. He added that the State needed a more effective mechanism to ensure the participation of village forest committees in decision-making on development projects.
Principal Secretary, Department of Forest and Environment, Meera Saxena lamented that development works in the Western Ghats are often not preceded by a carrying capacity assessment. Cricketer Anil Kumble, appointed by the Government as honorary vice-chairman of the State Wildlife Board, expressed concern over road projects that threaten forest areas.