Will Ahmedabad Process Houses Clean Up Their Act?

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200 km stretch of Sabarmati river has been irreversibly damaged due to the unmindful, illegal industrial wastewater discharged by Ahmedabad’s textile processing industry, over the years.

A domestic sewage line burst in flames near Soma Textiles in Rakhial last week, which stunned Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). The incident took place just as the vigilance team was disconnecting a civic drain which they suspected was carrying toxic industrial effluent.

Following this incident, the Gujarat High Court has taken a strict stance, and has ordered closure of all process houses in Ahmedabad that do not comply with the pollution norms. The HC judge clearly stated that any kind of foul play at the cost of human life will not be tolerated. He said the industry’s unmindful, profiteering practices have resulted in irreversible damage to Sabarmati river, Ahmedabad’s lifeline. The judge stated, “The industry has no regard for human life, this is why they have polluted the Sabarmati river. But now all this will not be tolerated.”

The court has ordered closure of all the units, until they make proper arrangements for disposal of their polluted water. The court has also ordered that a list of all the illegal process houses be made, which should be shared with the media, and legal closure notices be sent to them.

It has become common practice among process houses to release untreated, polluted water into the STP line in excess of the capacity of the ETP plant, which has resulted in loss of 200 km stretch of Sabarmati river, forever.

According to information, closure of such process houses has already started. And they can expect to remain shut till they do not invest in properly disposing of their toxic wastewater.

Since November 20, following the high court rap, the AMC has sealed 137 factory units allegedly found injecting untreated industrial waste illegally into the municipal sewage line. “There is tremendous pressure on us from the industrial estates and politicians to avoid certain clusters,” said an AMC official. Till last Thursday, drainage connections of private industrial estates in Odhav, Asarwa, Saraspur-Rakhial, Naroda, Behrampura, Lambha, Isanpur, Bapunagar, Shahpur, India Colony, Viratnagar and Danilimda were sealed. Industrial associations are now being asked to persuade private industrial estates to direct their wastewater to a CETP.

Meanwhile, processors in Surat, Bhiwandi, Tarapur, Badlapur, Bhilwara, Balotra are looking at this development as an opportunity for better business. But better practices will remain a big question mark.

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