Caustic-chlorine industry rated

Pledges to improve performance after poor scores

Published: Monday 30 September 2002

the 'green ratings', a public audit exercise of the caustic-chlorine sector conducted by New Delhi-based non-governmental organisation (ngo) Centre for Science and Environment (cse), has been pronounced by the industry as a guide to improve their performance in the future. The ratings, which assessed the environmental performance of the sector, were released on September 2, 2002. Even as no company qualified for the highest five leaves award, seven out of the 25 participants were presented the three leaves award.

Industry captains, while applauding the role of civil society organisations in alerting the industry on critical issues like the environment, also put forth the problems of the sector. S K Aggarwal, executive president of Shriram Alkalis and Chemicals Limited, which was ranked second in the ratings, admitted that the most environment-friendly way for the industry was conversion from mercury to membrane-based cell technology. But he added that as this switchover is costly, the government should reduce the import duty.

At the event, former Union finance minister Manmohan Singh, also the chairperson of the advisory panel of the project, released a book on the caustic-chlorine industry. Sunita Narain, director, cse had a word of caution about the rise of mercury pollution. She said that close to 44 per cent of mercury in the industry goes unaccounted for. Chandra Bhushan, coordinator, green rating project said at the event, "The study has been conducted in the most comprehensive manner and the book would help the industry to improve its performance." About the ratings, C H Krishnamurthy Rao, chief executive officer of Chemfab Alkalies Limited (which was ranked first in the ratings) said, "They should be promoted by the government and made mandatory."

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