75% of units in Peenya ignore pollution norms

An open drain at Peenya industrial area.   | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

Over three-fourths of units at Peenya Industrial Estate that let out effluents have not adhered to six-point conditions mandated by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to reduce soil and groundwater contamination.

KSPCB officials visited the units to verify compliance as part of an action plan to reduce pollution levels in the severely polluted industrial area.

Earlier, KSPCB had mandated that surface treatment industries — galvanizing, electroplating, pharmaceutical, dyeing and others — follow six conditions to reduce run-off of water and leeching of chemicals into the soil.

These include maintaining impervious flooring in areas where chemical processing happens, an effluent collection tank above ground, regular leak tests, installation of scrubbers, recording consumption of water and generation of waste water, and primary treatment of effluents before they are disposed to a Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), which has been mandated by the Supreme Court recently.

Just 62 out of 206 units comply with all six conditions, shows a report which was prepared as part of the action plan. A little more than half the industries do not treat their effluents before they are shifted to a CETP or a private tanker for disposal. A further 40 industries have not installed scrubbers, or do not conduct leak tests, says the report.

Soil pollution

The implementation of these six conditions will play a role in removing Peenya from the list of severely-polluted industrial areas as determined by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) through their Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI).

Peenya scored 65.11, making it one of the five critically or severely polluted industrial areas in the State.

The National Green Tribunal had directed KSPCB to formulate an action plan to clean up the area. The main problem, acknowledges the report, is contamination of groundwater and soil pollution.

Out of 66 borewells, 31 were found to have total chromium and hexavalent chromium content exceeding standards while, samples showed high levels of iron, cadmium and chromium in surface soil compared to three feet below the ground.

KSPCB notes that unscientific processing, storage and handling of hazardous waste has resulted in chromium/heavy metals being ‘scattered across’ the industrial area and estate, resulting in groundwater and sub-surface soil contamination.

“However, steps have already been taken by the KSPCB to ensure implementation of the 6-point criteria conditions laid down for surface treatment industries in order to avoid further contamination of groundwater quality from the existing operating industries in the study area, and also establishment of a CETP is in progress, which may slightly bring down CEPI score,” says KSPCB in the action plan.

Hopes on CEPT

KSPCB has proposed to construct a 200 Kilo Litre Per Day CETP at a cost of ₹10 crore. “Once operational, soil and groundwater pollution will reduce,” said Giri M.M., president of the Peenya Industries Association.

“It is true that many industries have not built ETPs despite orders from the Supreme Court, while private tankers that collect effluents have been found dumping them in drains and lakes rather than take them to their treatment plants. Even ETPs built in industries do not function properly. If the KSPCB builds one or two CETPs, they will create enough awareness among industries to ensure their effluents are treated properly,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 2:21:46 PM |

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