Water pollution is causing considerable amount of deaths in Maharashtra. However, it appears as if these death figures are simply ignored by authorities and even the media.
To put some light on the issue of water pollution due to chemical waste released by industries, Nitten Gokhaley recently interacted with RTI activist and social worker Sandeep Kap. He has taken the initiative to help the people affected due to chemical pollution in various parts of Maharashtra.
Tell us something about yourself?
My name is Sandeep Sitaram Kap. I am 30 year old BA Graduate. I live in Mumbai and run a small acrylic fabrication business unit.
What attracted you towards issues related to water pollution? How do you balance your work and social life?
I have spent few years out of my life in village areas. I have seen people suffering from various diseases due to water pollution. These days, people talk only about industrialization, but no one is willing to talk about its side effects. Thousands of acres of land has become barren because of polluted water used in agriculture.
Every month, I visit several parts of Maharashtra which are affected due to water pollution. I am associated with several NGOs, which offer legal and financial help to villages which are affected due to water pollution. As I own a small business, I can perfectly balance my work life and social life.
Tell us about the most recent case which you have handled?
The most recent one is about chemical waste released by some chemical plants from Mahad MIDC’s chemical zone. This zone is home to more than 100 chemical plants, some of these companies are releasing their chemical waste without filtering. This waste is released in the-Ovale area of River Savitri (Mahad, Maharashtra).
We took water samples from Savitri River (Ovale area) and performed several tests on this water at Government run test labs and private labs. According to results for these tests, the chemical pollution in this river is the main reason behind increasing number of cancer, paralysis, asthma, and heart disease patients in villages where people use water from Savitri River in Mahad.
Besides aquatic life in the river, this water pollution has also affected water wells and agriculture land in some of the villages surrounding Savitri River.
Is there any mechanism set up by MIDC to stop this pollution?
MIDC had setup a CEPT (common effluent treatment plant) in Mahad MIDC’s Chemical zone during 2003 to reduce the poisonous effect of the chemical waste before releasing it in the river. But according to tests conducted on the water which is released by the Mahad MIDCs chemical zone, the CEPT is not able to reduce the poison level in the waste even after processing it. Unfortunately, the MIDC authorities are not taking any steps to stop this.
What is the current status of this case?
This case was also discussed in the environment ministry’s office in Vidhan Bhavan (Maharashtra) on 09-07-2012. The meeting was attended by MLA Bhai Jagtap, Mrs. Vatsala Nair Singh (Secretary-environment affairs), Mr. Milind Maskar (Member and secretary of Maharashtra pollution control board-), Mr. R V Sonji (executive engineer-Maharashtra MIDC).
After going through various water test results, it was decided that the chemical waste from Mahad MIDC’s chemical zone should be disposed only as per recommendations given by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).
The Maharashtra govt has instructed Mahad- MIDC to pay damages, compensation money to farmers in the affected areas, as they are not able to cultivate anything in their farm land because of the poisonous water. Even after receiving clear orders to release the chemical waste water in Ambet area instead of Ovale area, the MIDC authorities are wasting time and are insisting to opt for another water test from NIO (which will cost around 10 Laks to the state Govt).
What are the steps taken by the Government to make sure that chemical plants are disposing their chemical waste water in the right way?
Normally, NIO executives visit various chemical zones in industrial areas, and give recommendations regarding disposal of chemical waste. The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) is one of 37 constituent laboratories of the CSIR – Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Most of the Industrial areas which are home to chemical plants, dispose their chemical waste as per NIO’s recommendations.
According of the Bombay High Court’s verdict given on PIL for water pollution in August 2012, every chemical plant operating in MIDC’s chemical zone should have a filtering unit to filter their chemical waste before releasing it in water bodies; this filtering unit should also have a separate power meter (MSEB- electricity meter). Authorities from MIDC’s chemical zones are instructed to visit chemical plants’ filtering units and check the filtering unit’s power meter’s bill. It is obvious that the bill will be huge if the filtering unit is functional. This step helps the authorities to make sure that every chemical plant is filtering its chemical waste before releasing it.
- The information and case details mentioned in this story are provided by activist Sandeep Kap.
- If you wish to discuss something and seek help to deal with water pollution in your area, you can get in touch with Sandeep Kap on his mobile number- 9322747968.
By- Nitten Gokhaley
Nitten writes for several websites, newspapers and a news agency. He writes on variety of topics like Health, Travel, Business, Hollywood, Gadgets, Life style, Automobile, Politics, Science, Sociology, Psychology and more. If you are looking for news script writer or reporter, please email us about your requirements: firstname.lastname@example.org
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