KERALA

Polluting paper mill at Edayar ordered to close down

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) on Wednesday ordered Sree Sakthi Paper Mills situated at Edayar on the banks of the Periyar to down its shutters for releasing large quantities of untreated and partly treated effluents into the river.

Though the closure notice was issued around 11 a.m., the company was found working even at 6 p.m. The company officials initially refused to accept the notice. However, the KSPCB officials informed the Binanipuram police about the proceedings and pasted the notice on the gate of the company, board officials said.

This is for the first time in recent years that the board has ordered the closure of an industrial unit on the banks of the river for polluting the system. The closure notice slapped on the company by the environmental engineer of the board stated that the company had released huge quantities of effluents on February 6 and March 18.

Environmentalists have been highlighting the pollution of the river system by various industrial units for quite some time.

The frequent fish kills that were taking place in the river indicated its deteriorating water quality, they said.

The release of the untreated effluents from the industrial unit poses a health risk as lead present in it might have got mixed with the drinking water that is being supplied to the city, said Martin Gopurathingal, an environmental researcher.

The effluents were seen spread over 1.5 km on Wednesday.

Drinking water is drawn from the region by the Kerala Water Authority. The authorities should take immediate steps to prevent any risk to public health, he said.

The board officials came to the conclusion that the effluent treatment plant of the company was found inadequate to treat the effluents after analysing the treated effluents collected from the unit.