Environmentalist decries continuous pollution of Daman Ganga river by Vapi industries

Rohit Prajapati of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti says discharging effluents in the river is a criminal offence

Daman ganga

While rivers in India are revered, that they are subject to grievous pollution is not news. Fighting against these polluters, organizations like the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, have time and again produced evidence of pollution in these rivers, which is carried out by industries who subvert laws laid down by the pollution control boards. Rohit Prajapati, a member of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti has once again captured evidence of pollution in the Daman Ganga River along the Vapi Industrial Cluster, which releases “treated effluent” downstream.

Prajapati says there shouldn’t be any discharge allowed at all, even of the so-called ‘treated effluent’ where the river doesn’t have adequate water (E-flow). He says, “Discharging effluents in the river amounts to murdering the river and it is a criminal offence on the part of the concerned industries, authorities, Government of Gujarat, and State of Gujarat.”

A video of the pollution at Daman Ganga may be viewed below. The video was taken on June 30, 2020, at the Daman Ganga effluent discharge point clearly revealing the disastrous condition of the Daman Ganga River in its downstream.

The Vapi Industrial Cluster has about a 1,000 industries, majority of them which are into manufacturing of dyes, chemical intermediates, paper and pharmaceuticals. As per a report by the GPCB, 519 small, medium and large scale units located in GIDC Vapi are discharging their treated effluent into CETP (Capacity: 55 MLD) through GIDC u/g drainage system which ultimately gets discharged into river Daman Ganga. As per Aryavart Foundation who has been fighting for the cause of river pollution, the NGT observed the results of a committee which was constituted to review the function of CETPs which reported that there was an increase in the concentration of pollutants post CETP discharge at Namdha and Jari Causeway along the Damanganga River. Hence, the upgradation of CETP treatment scheme was paramount to reduce pollution reaching the river Daman Ganga.

In 2019, the National Green Tribunal had ordered the recovery of Rs. 117 crore from industries in Vapi, Gujarat, for polluting the Daman Ganga River. However, considering the steps to be taken for restoration of the environment of the Daman Ganga, the actual cost of restoration was about Rs. 751 crore for over ground pipeline network from industries to GIDC manhole/sump, quality & quantity monitoring SCADA system, upgradation of CETP, construction of STPs, management of MSW in the area, stated Aryavart Foundation.

This year, the Vapi Industries Association (VIA) made questionable requests to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) essentially asking for the pollution watchdog to relax effluent discharge norms citing the shortage of skilled staff to manage Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs).

It had also made another shocking demand where it asked the GPCB to abolish the norm of getting individual Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies done for industries situated within an industrial estate and discharging their treated waste water through a Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) drainage line since it costs Rs. 5 to 7 lakh, which is unaffordable for small units. Instead of this, the VIA says that the EIA report of the concerned CETP of that industrial estate should be submitted for establishment of new units or expansion of existing units of the concerned industrial estate.

It had also asked the GPCB to not penalise or take any harsh steps against the defaulting industries for ‘petty lapses’ and essentially asked the state pollution board to not order closure of industries that failed to meet the discharge norms, but instead just levy a fine on them as closure would lead to financial losses to the units.

While all involved stakeholders know of the norms being flouted, too much time has passed trying to get the polluters to pay. Rohit Prajapati says that pushing the snooze button won’t work. Given how the environment ministry is turning a blind eye to the destruction of natural resources, it is imperative someone takes stock of the situation and remedies it before it gets too late.


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