Environment Ministry to Continue Moratorium in 3 out of 4 Critically Polluted Areas in Tamil Nadu
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Chennai 28 October 2010: The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) has decided to continue its moratorium on setting up of new industries in the 3 out of 4 critically polluted industrial clusters of Tamil Nadu till March 2011. The areas where the moratorium would continue include industrial clusters in Cuddalore, Manali and Vellore. The moratorium on industrial expansion in Coimbatore was has been lifted subject to stringent conditions.
An office memorandum of the Ministry issued on 26 October 2010 extends the moratorium in 38 out of 43 identified critically polluted industrial clusters/ areas up to 31 March 2011. Moratoria that were in place for Tarapur (Maharashtra), Pattancheru-Bollaram (Andhra Pradesh), Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Vapi (Gujarat) and Mandi-Govindgarh (Punjab) were conditionally relaxed. The decision to lift the moratorium in these areas were based on the submissions of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that had reviewed action plans submitted by industries for improving environmental quality and the work initiated by "the local stakeholders" on the submitted plans in these regions. The Ministry further issued strict conditions for monitoring and compliance with environmental guidelines in these regions.
The moratorium was imposed in January 2010 on 43 industrial clusters around the country including 4 from Tamil Nadu after they were declared 'critically polluted' based on their Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI). The purpose of the moratorium was to initiate time-bound action plans for improving the environmental quality in these industrial clusters/ areas. While the initial order for moratorium was till August 2010, it was extended till 31 October 2010 due to delay in finalizing the action plans.
Residents and members of SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors (SACEM) welcomed the extension in the moratorium in Cuddalore. We believe that the moratorium extension is a step in the right direction as the industry has to be reined in and taught to respect the law, said SACEM that has been working towards environmental monitoring in SIPCOT area for nearly six years. SACEM is also engaged in raising the issue of environmental pollution and repeat violations by the SIPCOT Units in an ongoing suo motto case at the High Court of Madras. Recently the Court had ordered closure of CUSECS, the system that discharges effluents from the units to the sea, for operating for more than ten years without obtaining valid licenses from the TNPCB.
Background of CEPI study:
First of its kind, the CEPI study aimed to assess and rank the environmental pollution in 88 industrial clusters across the country. Based on the extent of water, land and air pollution in these hubs the study formulated a CEPI. It took into account available data on land, water and air pollution, biodiversity, ecological damage and waste management to make this assessment. The clusters were ranked on a scale of 0-100, where a high score indicates high levels of pollution and environmental degradation. Ten out of 88 of these clusters scored above 80 indicating extremely high levels of air, water and land pollution in these regions. Thirty-three clusters have scored between 70 and 80 and are classified as "critically" polluted while at least 32 others scored between 60 and 70 and are considered as "seriously" polluted clusters. Clusters that scored between 50-60 are classified as in the "warning" zones. The top polluters from Tamil Nadu included Vellore, Cuddalore, Manali, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Mettur and Erode. While Vellore ranked 8th in the list of most polluted among the 88 hubs, Cuddalore was ranked 16th, Manali 20th, Coimbatore 34th, Tirupur 51st, Mettur 56th and Erode 78th.
For more details please see the Memorandum of MoEF attached. For details on Cuddalore please contact Shweta Narayan -- 8056024315