SIPCOT Cuddalore - a Global Toxic Hotspot
Conditions in the Industrial Complex a threat to Health and Environment
Cuddalore, 4 April 2006: Conditions currently prevalent inside the SIPCOT complex are a threat to the environment and the human health of the residents of SIPCOT Cuddalore, declared a report released by SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitoring (SACEM) in Cuddalore. The report titled – Is SIPCOT Safe? is a scorecard on the environment that documents at least 45 incidents of environmental pollution and/or workplace incidents involving environmental damage, and/or injury or death of workers and residents in the last 17 months, from October 2004 to February 2006. According to the report there were at least 17 incidents of illegal effluent discharge, 8 instances of gas leaks, 10 instances of industrial accidents that killed 2 and injured 9, and 7 instances of illegal dumping of hazardous waste in the area. Releasing the report in Cuddalore, SACEM representatives highlighted the neglect of the government authorities especially the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) in maintaining safe environmental conditions in Cuddalore. "The Tamil Nadu government and the Pollution Control Board have clearly chosen the development of industries above the welfare of people and their ineffectiveness in SIPCOT to curb pollution is an evidence of the same," said SACEM.
The report presents the state of environment of Cuddalore and indicates that the industries in the complex are operating without any concern to the environment or to the health and safety of their workforce. Apart from the environmental damage the lack of implementation of the Industrial Laws have turned the units into a ticking time bombs, according to new information at least 5 industrial accidents have already taken place in the month of March 2006, that have killed one and injured 5.
Through their report, SACEM representatives also highlighted that the claims made by the authorities about the safe conditions in SIPCOT are without any basis and that this report is the first ever documentation of the conditions prevalent in the complex. They also mentioned that there has been a definite increase in the awareness levels of the residents of SIPCOT in the last two years and that has been the prime reason why now more accidents and incidents are being reported. This report is a striking evidence of the disparity of facts presented by the TNPCB and other authorities and the reality on ground in the industrial complex. SACEM also mentioned that the conditions in Cuddalore are bleak and the government should improve them instead of pushing plans for further expansion of the complex. It is known that the Tamil Nadu Government is planing three major projects i.e. Chemplast Sanmar PVC plant, a textile park and a petrochemical refinery for SIPCOT in Cuddalore.
SACEM intends to take this report to various authorities and demand a ban on any further expansion of the industrial complex and immediate action to remediate the situation in Cuddalore.
Read the report here: Cuddalore Scorecard