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Water quality in and around SIPCOT toxic

19 September 2014

A.V. RAGUNATHAN
The Hindu

Contamination level far exceeds norms

The sub-surface water in and around the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here has become heavily polluted. It is unfit for consumption and poses serious health hazards, including cancer, to the residents.

This came to light when tests were conducted by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on the water samples collected from 11 places, nine inside the industrial estate and two in the surrounding villages, during the period from February 2013 to April 2014.

The representatives of the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring (SACEM) M. Nizamudeen and T. Arul Selvan shared the findings obtained from the TNPCB by invoking the Right to Information Act with the press persons here on Wednesday.

The results showed that the contamination level in the water samples far exceeded the norms of the Bureau of Indian Standards. The level of carcinogens such as cadmium, chromium and lead present in the samples was a cause for concern.

The ingestion of such elements would cause acute abdominal problems, affect the kidneys and stunt the intelligent quotient of children.

They pointed out that in 1998 the State Human Rights Commission headed by a retired judge Justice Nainar Sundaram had cautioned that the SIPCOT area was over polluted. People’s health and the local environment could not withstand the burden of new chemical industries.

>Sea water incursion

Mr. Arul Selvan noted that owing to saline water ingression as many as 300 hand pumps in the Sangolikuppam area near the industrial estate had become unusable. In other villages ground water was used only for cleaning and washing purposes but this too caused skin problems. The SACEM attributed such a state of affairs to indiscriminate disposal of industrial effluents and laxity on the part of the enforcing authorities.

It was perplexing to note that even though the TNPCB was well aware of the pollution level it had not duly notified it to the people.

Therefore, the SACEM had called upon the authorities to take appropriate remedial measures.

Level of carcinogens present in the samples is a cause for concern

Ingestion of such elements will cause acute abdominal problems, affect kidneys

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