Discharge of effluents into water channels continues

Untreated effluents flowing into Pichakkaranpallam Odai in Erode. — PHOTO: M.GOVARTHAN  

There appears to be no end in sight for the pollution problems created by the textile processing and tannery units for the beleaguered farming community in Erode district. The textile and leather processing units, which had avoided the discharge of untreated effluents following strict monitoring from the administration till a few weeks ago, are now enjoying a free rein. The local body poll has presented the much-needed opportunity for these units.

With officials busy in preparing for the polls and rarely finding time for other works, the textile processing units, particularly the unapproved ones, are now openly dumping gallons of untreated, toxic effluents in the water carrying channels thus causing irreversible damage to the environment.

The absence of proper monitoring has also helped these units to win more orders and they are now working overtime to deliver the goods. “We are forced to double our capacity as we are not able to handle the flow of orders,” said a supervisor in an unapproved textile processing unit on condition of anonymity.

“The officials in almost all the departments are fully occupied with the election works and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board authorities rarely care about monitoring the industrial units and protecting the environment. As a result, huge amount of untreated effluents find their way to the water channels,” accuses Kalingarayan Pasana Sabai president V.M. Velayutham.

The Pichakkaranpallam Odai, a major water carrying channel, now carries effluents. The quality of water in the Kalingarayan canal is severely affected due to the constant flow of effluents. “The crop productivity has come down drastically and the soil is being poisoned,” Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam District Secretary T. Subbu says.

“The pollution problem may aggravate as a number of unapproved textile processing units had come up in the district recently. We suspect that the political interference is preventing the administration from taking a concrete action against these units,” Tamil Nadu Organic Farmers Federation State Co-ordinator R. Selvam points out.

“The government should insist the processing units to adopt green technology to process the cloths and leather,” Mr. Selvam suggests.