Pollution board sleeps, effluents seep in
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s (KSPCB) apathy has aided many industries in Bangalore Urban and Rural districts in flouting the laws that were enacted to prevent pollution.
KSPCB has analysed only 160 legal effluent samples and 12 legal air samples in 2006-07, 135 legal effluent samples and two legal air samples in 2007-08, which does not amount to even 1 per cent of industries in the city. The samples that are collected after ascertaining that a company is violating the standards set by the KSPCB are called legal samples.
Nearly 75 per cent of the collected legal samples failed to meet the standards set by the KSPCB. Yet no serious action has been taken against the erring industries.
There are 64,107 registered small-scale industries and 375 large-scale industries in Bangalore Urban district and 16,700 registered small-scale and 74 large-scale industries in Bangalore Rural district.
There are many more small industries that are operating without any authorisation and some large industries are still in the process of getting registered. Out of these many industries, KSPCB’s environmental officers have collected only 309 legal samples in both years put together.
Many of these industries do not even dispose their effluents according to KSPCB guidelines. Therefore, the groundwater in and around the industrial areas is polluted and heavy metals like chromium and lead are found in the water samples.
KSPCB member secretary M S Goudar said: “Industrial effluents are checked according to the discretion of the KSPCB. Apart from the legal samples, we have collected more than 2,000 other samples. Some of those samples do not meet the standards set by the KSPCB. A 45-day notice is served on the company that is found violating the standards. Normally the companies rectify their mistakes within 45 days. If a company does not comply with norms within 15 days, power and water supply is stopped.” It is impossible to regulate the pollution caused by these industries unless the KSPCB keeps checking the effluents discharged and initiates serious action against those that do not meet the set standards.
The Pollution Control Board had taken action against 17 government hospitals for not disposing its solid medical waste in accordance with the norms set by the board.