Tamil Nadu

Environmentalists against new units in SIPCOT

The protest against the expansion of the existing units or setting up of new units in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here is getting louder with passage of time.

For instance, the Consumer Federation Tamil Nadu (CONFET) and the SIPCOT Area Community Environment Monitoring (SACEM) have been time and again voicing their strong dissent to any move to expand the units or begin new ones.

General secretary of the CONFET M.Nizamudeen told The Hindu that the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) conducted a study in the SIPCOT area and submitted a report as far back as in 2007 stating that pollution had reached saturated level to the extent of causing cancer.

Yet, no tangible measures was taken to mitigate the problem. He pointed out that in 2009, citing heavy pollution level, the Centre had imposed a ban on expansion as well as on start-ups in the industrial estate.

However, on the submission of an action plan by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the SIPCOT industrial units in 2010 that necessary steps would be taken within a year to bring down the pollution level to 54.69 per cent the ban was revoked.

But even in 2011 the pollution level remained at 78.41 per cent and in 2013 it stood at 70.12 per cent. Mr Nizamudeen said that without taking any concrete steps to cut down the pollution level the units were advancing a specious plea that expansion and start-ups would create job opportunities.

He pointed out that in violation of the stipulation that no units should come up within 500 m of a water body, certain units were trying to set up new ones within 200 m of the Uppanar in Cuddalore district.

They were under the notion that they could resort to marine discharge of effluents by setting up units close to the water body, whereas the enforcing authorities were insisting upon zero effluent discharge.

Heavy metal contamination affected ground water quality. So far, 10 deep bore wells had been sunk in the industrial estate.

Mr Nizamudeen stated that already Cuddalore was water stressed area and digging of more bore wells would cause irreparable damage to ecology.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 10:31:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/environmentalists-against-new-units-in-sipcot/article6829003.ece

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