Filing an environmental audit

A CPCB official on the various tasks an environmental audit entail

Published: Sunday 15 May 1994

-- EXPLAINING the procedure for an audit, to be conducted by experts hired by the industry or by an internal team, a CPCB official says, "Pre-audit activities include obtaining preliminary information on the industry such as the company's environmental management policies through a questionnaire, so that the main areas of concern can be identified. On-site audit activities include interviews with the staff, verification of company records, field inspection and designing a monitoring and analysis network in order to determine the material balance of process inputs and outputs and the waste flow. The problems of waste generation, treatment and disposal are identified in post-audit activities, and recommendations formulated for the best possible waste management. The impact of the industry on its surrounding environment is also evaluated."

In the audit conducted by CPCB at Bata India Ltd, Batanagar, West Bengal, in May last year, the amount of fuel and raw materials consumed to produce the unit's 28 million pairs of rubber/canvas footwear, 5.184 million sq feet of finished leather and 8 million pairs of leather footwear were monitored. The audit documented the amount of raw material such as leather, nylon, sponge and PVC used per week, the quantity of diesel, coal, furnace oil and electricity consumed as fuel per day, the amount of water (5592 kilolitres per day) used in processing, cooling, boiler feeding, domestic work and gardening, and the release of 615 KLD of effluent. Analysing the quality of the effluent, the audit found that in most cases the discharge had higher than prescribed limits of biological oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids. The final emissions of particulate matter and sulphur dioxide were also high.

The audit also examined solid waste such as leather cuttings and steel scrap and their methods of disposal, and the disposal of coal ash from the boiler house. In its assessment, the environmental audit recommended better operational control because, despite a full-fledged effluent treatment plant, Bata India's effluents did not conform to standards.

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