Days after a picture of a blue dog spotted in Taloja MIDC went viral on social media, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has taken action against the firm that released the dye into the water.
“The company, Ducol Organics & Colours Pvt Ltd, has been shut down for violating norms under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, for letting the chemical be released into the river without treating it first, and releasing residual dye powder into the air, due to which stray dogs have turned blue,” said Anil Mohekar, MPCB regional officer.
Mr. Mohekar said, however, that only one dog had turned blue, and that too because it was near the company and the air pollution control system was not functional.
Activists cry foul
Activists and animal lovers have urged the MPCB to act against polluting industrial units. “It is not only animals, but human life is also at risk. If one goes to Taloja MIDC, one can see chemical water being released into the creek and pollutants in the air,” said Arati Chauhan, animal activist and a member of the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell.
Ms. Chauhan said it is not the first time that an animal has been a victim of such harmful chemicals. “During our regular visits to the MIDC, we come across animals and birds that are injured due to chemicals. The officials should do something to prevent this.”
Meanwhile, Shakuntala Majumdar, president of the Thane SPCA, said there were five dogs that had turned blue. “Our staff was successful in checking one of the dogs. All its parameters were normal, and we were able to wash the dye off,” she said.
Ms. Majundar said that while releasing the dog, people from the MIDC alerted them about another canine that had fallen into a drain. “The dog has burn marks over its body due to the chemicals flowing in the drain. It also has a high WBC count and is blind, the reason for which is not known,” she said.
Meanwhile, veterinarian Yuraj Kaginkar of MyVetTrust, who also visited Taloja MIDC, said that the entire area was engulfed with a smell of chemicals, and authorities should take action before this affects citizens.
Dr. Kaginkar, who also checked the blue dog, said though its colour had changed, its condition seemed fine. He said, “Generally, animals don’t drink or sit in water that gives off a different odour. Hence, this dog probably would have accidentally gone to a place where the blue dye was prominent.”
Amit Patil, a veterinarian from Kharghar, agreed. “The dog must have accidentally fallen into water with blue dye,” he said.
‘CETP not functioning’
Meanwhile Taloja Industries Association president Satish Shetty said the association would support any action the authorities take against anyone found violating norms.
Mr. Shetty said, however, “The main issue is that of the common effluent treatment plant (CETP); the 22.5 MLD (million litres a day) plant has not been functional for two years. As a result, even if the chemical water is filtered and sent to the CETP through integrated pipes, the plant releases the untreated effluents into the river. However, no action has been taken against the cooperative society which is responsible for running the CETP.”
All industries have to treat effluents up to 2,700 COD (chemical oxygen demand) and discharge them through the integrated CETP. The plant has to then treat the effluents, and bring them down to 250 COD before discharging them into Kasardi river.
“The Taloja Industries Association wants the MIDC to take over the operation and maintenance of Taloja CETP at the earliest. The MIDC has floated a 700-page tender, in which they have taken utmost care to detail the functioning of the CETP, with a 5 MLD expansion. The tender is opening August 30,” he said.
Calling the allegation baseless, Mr. Mohekar said, “The CETP is functional. However, the pipes are old, due to which 300 COD was found in the discharged water as against the 250 COD. To tackle this, we have started adding an oxidising agent to the water to reduce the pollutants.”