INDIA. Mumbai: The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has directed the pharmaceutical company located at Palghar, about 115 km from Mumbai, on charges of violation of pollution control norms.
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The MPCB vide its order (No. MPCB/ROT/CD/2101040001 dated January 04, 2021), has directed “Aarti Drugs Limited” located at MIDC, Tarapur, in Palghar district to close down its manufacturing activities within 72 hours taking all precautionary measures for safe closure. The order has been issued under section 33 A of the Water (P&CP) Act 1974, section 31 A of the Air (P@CP) Act 1981, and Hazardous and Other Wastes (M@TM) Rules 2016.
These directions were given after the visit of the MPCB team to the plant on November 30, 2020. The company has been charged with violations such as: not incorporating mother liquor (ML) generated from Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) in existing consent given to MPCB. Not giving details of the GPRS system provided on tankers engaged in the transport of high COD/high TDS effluents from its main unit to its sister unit located at T-150 MIDC, Tarapur.
Besides, the company has also been charged with not sending hazardous waste to the Mumbai Waste Management Limited, Taloja (Common Hazardous Waste Treatment Storage & Disposal facility) for disposal between April-October 2020. Also, the samples collected from the Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP) outlets revealed that parameter COD-1250 mg/l, TDS-4852 mg/ l exceeded the consented limit. No separate system for segregation of high COD/high TDS stream was provided and effluents were not taken to the conventional effluent treatment plant for treatment.
Water sources sealed
In another development, the Palghar district administration has sealed 66 water sources across 16 villages due to contamination. The water at these points was unfit for consumption and posed a health risk to the residents, Palghar Zilla Parishad CEO Siddharam Salimath told the Transcontinental Times. He said that the people should not use the water of bore wells at any cost. They should use the water provided under the regional water supply scheme. About companies polluting the water by discharging effluents in the nalas, he said that the Palghar district collector would take the action.
The water sources were sealed after samples were collected from 86 public and 535 private sources of water in 16 villages. Five public and 66 private sources of water were found to be polluted and its water was unfit for consumption. The villages in which water sources were sealed included: Tarapur, Kambode, Givli, Dandi, Uccheli, Murbe, Alewadi, Tembi Navapur, Satpati, Kharekuran, Shirgaon, Mahim, Vadrai, Kelva, and Dadrapada.
The district authorities have displayed boards at the points to instruct people that they should not consume water from there. The district health officials said that those suffering from health ailments due to consumption of polluted water from these points will be given treatment.
Industrial units blamed
However local journalist Gajanan Mohite, editor of an online news portal “Boisar Tarapur Mitra” said that the exercise of cautioning people about contaminated water by displaying the boards is going on for years together. The basic solution is strict action against industrial units polluting the water by indiscriminately discharging the effluents in public nalas. The action against the Aarti Drugs proves this point. “I have been waging a war against industrial units polluting the water and air for since long. I had to face police action when industrial unit owners approached the police alleging that I was lodging false complaints against them”, he added.
“The industrial effluents are discharged directly into the sea and the nalas at Kolwade by industrial units. Besides, the scrap is also dumped into the sea and nearly ponds, lakes. At this rate, the Surya river located about 8 km from Tarapur, will be polluted. This will pose a great threat to people since an earth-fill dam “Dhamni (Surya)”, is located on Surya River, which provides potable water”, Environmentalist Manish Sankhe Sankhe said.
SR Gupta, the secretary of Tarapur Industrial Manufacturers’ Association (TIMA) said that now most of the units are in the process of upgrading their Common Effluent Treatment plants (CETPs) as a result most of the industrial units have been temporarily closed. The CET is a treatment system specifically designed for the collective treatment of effluent generated from small-scale industrial facilities in an industrial cluster.
Based on the reports that the water is drawn from different sources and is supplied to industrial units. Similarly, the tankers are transporting hazardous chemicals and water for unauthorized disposal in the MIDC area, the Palghar district administration has banned the movement of tankers between 6 PM and 6 AM till February 02, 2021. The ban order was issued on December 04, 2020, as per National Green Tribunal’s directive ( No.64/2016) to MPCB.