Why all these are not applicable to Tuticorin port or the one planned in AP or WB ?
What an eye opener! As an environmental engineer,disposal of sanitary napkins has always been a concern during waste...
Gap's contentions are quite ridiculous, to say the least. Good to know that GTG is going to fight the case! More power to such...
thirty-year-old Rakesh (not his real name), a resident of Dosigaon village in Ratlam district, Madhya Pradesh ( mp ), is reconciled to the fact that he will never get married. "We have been searching for a suitable match for the past eight years, but our efforts have been in vain," says his father. It is not only Rakesh who is facing this problem. Dosigaon and nine other villages in the same district have difficulty finding alliances from other villages. The reason is simple: non-availability of safe drinking water, or rather the availability of highly contaminated water.
"The colour of every source of water -- handpumps, tubewells, borewells and river water -- is red," says Shankerlal Patel, 60, a resident of Bhanjankheda, another affected village. In summer the colour is blood red and in monsoon it is faint, he adds. Both the ground and surface water in these villages have been contaminated by a h -acid manufacturing unit and by other industries which are located in this district. h -acid, an intermediary used in the dye industries, has been banned in 117 countries for its virtually irreversible contamination.
These industries pump their liquid effluents into Dosinala, a stream that passes through these villages before merging with Kurel river, located 20 km downstream. Dosinala recharges the groundwater of at least seven villages through which it passes during the monsoon. Earlier, it used to supply water for agriculture and the large livestock population of these villages. Now, the groundwater in these villages has been contaminated by liquid effluents which are being dumped by these industries. According to surveys conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board ( cpcb ) and other state bodies, the high level of contamination affects a population of about five lakh people.
The legal battle began in 1987, when villagers filed cases against Sajjan Chemicals and three other plants in the sub-divisional magistrate's ( sdm ) court in Ratlam. The court rejected the petition. In 1989, they again filed a case, only to receive similar treatment.
In 1992, Hariram Patidar, a resident of Bhanjankheda, filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court. The apex court closed the case on the evidence of the mppcb , which gave a clean chit to the polluting industries. By this time the villagers were getting coloured water even from their borewells.
However, in 1995, the Supreme Court re-opened the case as the mppcb changed its stance and said that the industries were, in fact, polluting. In 1996, the apex court returned the case to the mphc' s Jabalpur bench for a day-to-day hearing. The High Court ordered the closure of the industries and instructed them to adhere to zero-discharge condition before reopening. In 1997, the industries reopened after "adhering to zero-discharge condition". The High Court also evolved a compensation package for the affected villagers.
"Clearly the water at the dam, falls short of the required quality. Data of the last five years reveals that in practically each case, the sample far exceeds the prescribed safe limits thus making it completely unfit for use," says the report. Similarly, when water from the drain overflows, it meets Maleni river 2 km away and discolours the water. The report says, "The water in the Kurel river is unfit for human consumption".
More shocking is the cpcb' s report which says that the industry has contaminated the groundwater and the soil in the premises, the surrounding areas and Dosigaon drain to the point it joins the Kurel river. According to the report the Kurel riverbed was also contaminated by toxic effluents of the industry. "During the rainy season the contaminants of the Kurel river and Dosigaon drain are flushed into the Maleni river which is the main drinking water source for a large town downstream Jaora. Often the water supply to Jaora town has been suspended due to highly contaminated water in the Maleni, as evident from the records of the mppcb ", says the report.
The same report also declared the water from the drain unfit for agriculture as it would affect the soil composition. According to the cpcb, industries such as Sajjan Chemicals, Jayant Vitamins and Steller Drugs were producing highly toxic and corrosive effluents which were flowing out in unlined drains due to the absence of properly designed effluents collection systems. Such conditions would eventually lead to percolation of effluents to the underground water. Farmers have since stopped using the water flowing in the Dosigaon drain for irrigation as it has resulted in crops being ruined in the past. Now groundwater is the only irrigation source. "Unfortunately, even the groundwater is red. This has affected our agricultural yield" says Patidar. "Agricultural yield has come down by 50 per cent in the last decade due to the red water," says Shankerlal.
Onions which are the main crop, had been the worst affected. According to villagers onions starts rotting very quickly due to the effect of contaminated water. "I am no longer getting the return I used to get a decade ago. I now have to sow more seeds as their survival rate has dropped", says Gafar Khan, a villager.
In another case the High Court ordered the industries to clean the Dosinala. "The nala will be cleaned of the sludge by all four respondents," the court ordered. But a visit to the industrial area presents a different picture altogether. The drain continues to be filled with highly contaminated sludge.
"We have already spent Rs 65 lakh on the compensation package and to install anti-pollution mechanisms," says P K Srivastava, vice-president of Sajjan Chemicals Ltd. The industries have also filed affidavits in the courts that they have installed anti-pollution measures and have agreed to the compensation package. But Mishra counters "the industries are still polluting and are not adhering to the anti-pollution norms". "The reason is simple: it will require lakhs of rupees to install pollution-control equipment which these industries are unwilling to do," he adds. In the meantime, the villagers will have to suffer and Rakesh will have to wait longer to get married.
Richard Mahapatra in Ratlam