Despite crackdown, over 380 units flout pollution guidelines

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 3 2012, 06:18am hrs
More than 380 industrial units across the country are violating pollution norms despite a crackdown by the authorities that led to closure of scores of such units. Of the 2,720 highly polluting industries (HPI) across 17 sectors like fertilisers, thermal power, sugar, petrochemicals, cement and integrated iron and steel, around 383 industrial units are not complying with water and air pollution norms while 261 have been closed down due to constant violation.

Most of these non-compliant units are in Andhra Pradesh, closely followed by West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, 77 units are not complying with the norms and 28 have been closed down, while 69 units in West Bengal continue to flout pollution norms despite 12 units having faced closure. UP has seen 40 units being closed while another 68 are not complying. Incidentally, Maharashtra tops the chart with the highest number of closed units at 68.

The non-complying units have installed effluent treatment plants and emission control systems but these are not in compliance with the few parameters of prescribed standards when monitored last.

The environment ministry, along with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), set these norms but their enforcement is done by the respective state pollution control boards (SPCB) and pollution control committees (PCC).

Industrial units are allowed to operate only if they have the requisite pollution control facilities. In case of non compliance, CPCB either sends a closure notice or closes the project immediately depending on the control measures being used. If there are control measures in place but not being used properly then the unit is issued a notice. The directions are issued by the CPCB to the SPCB under the Water Act, 1974, or Air Act, 1981. However, the board closes the unit if there are no control measures at all.

Actions in the form of show cause notices, closure orders and prosecutions are initiated by the SPCBs against the erring industries, said an environment ministry official, adding that the SPCBs do not submit updated status regularly.