Tamil Nadu minister backs Cauvery polluter

Published: Thursday 31 January 2008

cauvery river is heavily polluted. A recent study has found high levels of dioxins and furans in the drains joining the river. The study has implicated Chemplast Sanmar, a local company into polyvinyl chloride and chloro-chemical production.

The study, conducted by Chennai-based Community Environmental Monitoring (cem), an ngo, found the drains carry 6.7 nanogram/kg of toxins--eight times higher than the Canadian interim sediment quality standard of 0.85 nanogram/kg. The study said that there are 1,100 industries operating along the Cauvery, that discharge 162 million litres of effluents per day, and 87 million litres of effluents per day are discharged into the river.

The report was released on November 12--two days after Tamil Nadu's Agriculture Minister Veerapandi Arumugam released a report highlighting Sanmar's commitment to the environment. Reinforcing the company's commitment to protecting the environment and explaining its green initiatives, N Sankar, chairman of the Sanmar group, said that the cem report was "baseless, mischievous, imaginary and frivolous".

cem undertook the study after farmers' complained of contamination of aquifers, farmlands, streams and the Cauvery itself because of the factory units operating along the river. The farmers wanted an independent study because they say that the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board always "declared the discharges safe".

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.