KSPCB to issue closure orders to 50 electroplating industries

Major firms outsource job to small units which release effluents unscientifically

KSPCB to issue closure orders to 50 electroplating industries

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) will close down around 50 electroplating industries in Peenya industrial area and its surrounding areas alone in another two months. This is being done because of the environmental threat they pose, especially to surrounding residential areas.

The Board has issued orders stating that no new electroplating industry can be set up in Bangalore City limits and the existing industries should either follow environment norms or face closure.

Closure of these units could lead to a setback to the market, because many large companies outsource their work of electroplating and cleaning of machinery and other metal products to such small units at a cheaper cost. This would also affect the livelihood of around a 1,000 people associated with this industry.

According to KSPCB, this is the first step, as there are many such industries operating in Bommasandra, Neelasandra, Mahadevapura, Rajajinagar industrial area and surrounding areas. Notices are being served on them to comply with the norms or they will be shut down. All these units are involved in chrome and zinc plating. 

Dr Vaman Acharya, KSPCB chairman, told Deccan Herald on Monday, “Units in Peenya, Peenya industrial area and surrounding areas were surveyed in January 2013. Notices were issued to them and were told to comply with the norms in eight to nine months. But nothing has happened till date. We are issuing closure notices to them in two months. By the end of April 2014, all will be completely closed down. There are over 90 such industries in these areas, but presently 50 have been served notices.”

Acharya said groundwater is highly polluted in these areas. Large quantities of heavy metals have been found in it. It also includes arsenic, zinc, cadmium and hexavalent chromium. These pollutants lead to major ailments in people. The KSPCB had issued five guidelines to follow. 

They are: flooring should be acid resistant; plating baths (in which the metal plates are dipped during electroplating) should be above ground level; scrubber (a media which absorbs chemicals either through gas or through air) shall be provided with air pollution control measures; effluent collection tanks should be above ground level for waste water generation; and effluents shall be disposed of gradually. 

A KSPCB official said, “During the survey we found that water from 84 borewells in and around Peenya was contaminated. We have told major companies which outsource their job to such units to take the onus of maintaining their records and ensuring that environmental norms are followed. Large brand companies do not do so because they want to maintain a clean image and do not want extra burden. This method will not work any more.”

“The units have not complied with any of the norms. We had directed them to despatch waste materials to registered effluent treatment plants. This has not been followed. Another major problem is that these small units do not maintain records of waste water and waste materials generated,” a KSPCB official said.

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