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திங்கள், ஜனவரி 31, 2011

“Air monitoring device at SIPCOT estate dysfunctional for months”

CUDDALORE: 

         The air monitoring device installed at the SIPCOT Industrial Estate for assessing atmospheric pollution remains dysfunctional for the past several months. Hence, the quality of effluents discharged from industrial units cannot be properly gauged, according to M. Nizamudeen, executive general secretary of the Consumer Federation-Tamil Nadu.

         He made a representation in this regard to the Collector at the environmental assessment meeting held here on Friday. The Federation appealed to the Collector to make the device, worth several lakhs of rupees, functional to keep track of pollution levels. Some time ago it was announced that a “care air centre” on the model of the one at Tiruvalluvr district would be established in Cuddalore. Such a centre would enable the centralised monitoring of pollution-related issues from Chennai, but it is yet to materialise. The Federation alleged that most of the units in the industrial estate were operating without renewing permissions as provided under the Air and Water Act, and, therefore, it called for immediate action in this regard.

          It was a matter of concern that the Cuddalore Municipality had an unauthorised garbage dumping yard close to the industrial estate. Most often the garbage was being set on fire, compounding the pollution problem. The Federation pointed out that sewage and stormwater drain under the jurisdiction of the industrial estate remained choked. Hence, urgent measures were needed to desilt the drain. The electronic display system on the estate was indicating the same readings all the time, creating a suspicion whether it was operational.

            A lapse was found in the transportation of chemicals by tankers without carrying the mandatory notice about the content and qualification of the crew for handling inflammatory and incendiary materials in a safe manner. According to the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment, Cuddalore, by virtue of its saturated pollution level, occupied 16th place in the Red List. However, to keep the pollution level within the permissible level, the Ministry had extended time-limit on several occasions and, now it had set a deadline of March 21, 2011.

             The Federation called upon the TNPCB to enlighten people about its much-touted action plan for controlling pollution on the industrial estate. Since there was a concentration of hazardous chemical units on the estate, a crisis group should be stationed there to tackle any emergency, it added.

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