Poisoned water stalks 5 state industrial zones


Five industrial zones in Karnataka, including Mangalore and Bhadravati, are among 88 most polluted industrial clusters in the country, a new study has revealed.

The study, jointly conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D), said air and water in these places were heavily contaminated by toxic metals and chemicals spewed by factories.

The situation is so perilous that the Centre is toying with the idea of not allowing any more projects in these zones.

Mangalore tops the list in the State, closely followed by Bhadravati. Three other industrial constellations—Raichur, Bidar and Peenya—are marginally better, says the assessment released here on Thursday.

“We should put on hold all new approvals in 43 most critically polluted zones until they come to a lower grade,” Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said. Both Mangalore and Bhadravati fall among the 43 dangerous zones.

“There will be controversies and protests. But no politics and emotions are involved here. Scientific studies by the CPCB and IITD suggest the need to take such a step,” he added.
However, the Karnataka clusters appear to be cleaner than the top 10. The two worst polluted clusters are Ankleshwar and Vapi in Gujarat, followed by Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

The remaining seven in the top-10 list in the descending order are: Chandrapur (Maharashtra), Korba (Chhattishgarh), Bhiwandi (Rajasthan), Angul Talcher (Orissa), Vellore (Tamil Nadu), Singrauli (Uttar Pradesh) and Ludhiana (Punjab).

Mangalore is in the 32nd position among the 88 clusters, while Bhadravati is at the 35th spot. The listing has been done in accordance with a cataloguing tool called “comprehensive environmental pollution index.” (CEPI).

On a scale of 0-100, the areas having aggregated CEPI score of 70 and above are considered as “critically polluted,” which should be kept under surveillance and pollution measures implemented more efficiently.

The air quality was also measured against the recently released national ambient air quality standards, which seek to significantly improve the standards of breathable air.
Asking the states to come out with their own action plans in the same fashion as Gujarat, Ramesh said he would approach the Union finance minister to allocate funds in the next budget so that the underground drainage and effluent treatment systems can be improved in the most critically polluted areas.

The Environment Ministry has also asked the Public Health Foundation of India to study the health impacts of industrial pollution.

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