Modi mantra to a healthy and wealthy nation

The mantra of zero defect and zero effect manufacturing practice should translate into no pollution from industrial effluents

By Manoj Misra
Published: Monday 30 November -0001

The mantra of zero defect and zero effect manufacturing practice should translate into no pollution from industrial effluents

'Health is wealth’, is no hollow slogan. Natural extension is a healthy nation also being wealthy, strong and a happy nation. But a lot would depend on how do we define a healthy person or a healthy nation?

Is a person with a drawer full of medicines and a nation with a hospital in its every nook and corner, an indicator of being healthy? Look closely and such a person or a nation would actually deserve a perpetually ‘sick’ tag.

It is actually healthy air, water and land that would make for a healthy nation inhabited by healthy people. Herein Prime Minister Modi’s exhortation from the ramparts of Red Fort in Delhi on the 67th anniversary of the nation’s Independence, for a “zero defect and zero effect” manufacturing practice should come handy. Translated into tangible action it would mean a nation, where no effluents (air and liquid) from its industries shall pollute air, water or land. This is possible only when an industry’s pollution abatement infrastructure ensures a zero discharge through repeated effluent recycling.
As against the above, today the ground situation is that despite pollution watchdogs in form of Central and State Pollution Control Boards sitting both at the centre and in the states, there is all over rampant industrial pollution defiling air, lands, water bodies and rivers.

It is no secret that this pollution, many a times several notches higher than permissible limits has entered our food chain, with food grains, vegetables and fruits raised on polluted waters from the nearest stream or even the underground, proving a health hazard with increasing risks of diseases like cancers and mental retardation. Most dangerously, it is the children and hence the nation’s future, which is most vulnerable to such pollution, led health hazards.
Where would the nation require prioritizing its action on the Modi mantra?  The union Ministry of Environment and Forests, in 2010 identified 43 critically polluted and 37 severely polluted industrial clusters in the country. These included places like Ankleswar and Vapi in Gujarat; Chandrapur, Dombivli and Aurangabad in Maharastra; Korba in Chattisgarh; Bhiwadi in Rajasthan; Dhanbad in Jharkhand; Ghaziabad, NOIDA, Singrauli, Agra and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh; Angul Talchar in Odisha; Ludhiana in Punjab;  Cuddalore and Vellore in Tamil Nadu; Faridabad in Haryana and the Najafgarh basin in NCT of Delhi.

Focus at the national capital region (NCR) of Delhi and you are faced with some of the most critically and severely polluted industrial clusters in the country namely Ghaziabad, NOIDA, Faridabad, Najafgarh basin, Panipat, Mathura and Meerut. In short the NCR of Delhi has perhaps emerged as the most polluted industrial region in the country? No wonder river Yamuna in NCR as the end destination of all pollutants, is gasping for breath.  
Is there a message in the fact that of the 88 most polluted industrial clusters in the country, 12 fall in Uttar Pradesh, 9 in Gujarat, 8 in Maharastra, 7 in Tamil Nadu and 5 each in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. Other states in the list include Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chattisgarh, Kerala and the NCT of Delhi. 
Clearly, the task is daunting and nationwide. And there is little time to lose.

If India is to truly find its place as a healthy and wealthy nation amongst the comity of nations then the Modi mantra of “zero defect and zero effect”, has to not remain a hollow slogan.

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