Paper caper

Published: Friday 15 March 1996

THE paper industry of Punjab has shown utter disregard for environmental concerns by openly flouting the rules regarding discharge of waste and effluents. And the state pollution control board has taken no action to check this offensive on environment. The paper mills like Sukhna at Derabassi and Shreyans at Ahmednagar, have been releasing effluents into adjacent fields and rivers. Pollution in water samples is measured in terms of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), a measure of organic matter which enters the effluent and depletes the oxygen In water. BOD levels of the mills were found to be far higher than the permissible limits.

High levels Of BOD harms acquatic life due to lack of oxygen in the water -leading to their death. On the soil surface, the effluent forms a surface layer and prevents proper absorption of oxygen by the soil, thus obstructing germination of seeds. If the contaminated water seeps into soil and mixes with the underground water, then it would find its way out through pumps as drinking water.

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