PUCL, August 2004

PUCL for action against polluting industries and a moratorium new hazardous units in the area

Also see, States told to guard against toxic waste dumping, The Hindu 13 August 2004

Eloor, Kochi

12 August 2004


The Chairman,
Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on
Hazardous Waste and Chemicals

Respected Sir,

Sub : Petition and Charter of Demands submitted to the committee-for necessary action-request-reg.

We wish to submit this letter of petition and demands subsequent to the letter we had sent to you before your visit to the Eloor-Edayar Industrial Area in Kochi.

We have been repeatedly demanding the following from various authorities including the Pollution Control Board, Chief Minister, Ministers of the State Cabinet, the Opposition leader. We wish to bring to your kind attention these demand once again in hope that they will be implemented and the crisis that has engulfed our environment and lives will be mitigated and stopped.

Owing to the frequent accidents, gas leakages, and uncontrolled outlets into the stream, water bodies and the river Periyar, the authorities should set up a comprehensive chemical disaster management plan.

The Pollution Control Board (PCB) should be restructured immediately so as to make it functional and efficient.

Some suggestions:
The Chairman of the PCB appointed should be capable person from the Civil Service cadre.

Apart from Civil Engineers in the PCB, the Board should also have environmental scientists, qualified public health doctors, epidemiologists., toxicologists and should be given independent functional status.

The PCB should become a policing agency and not just a Board to control pollution. Their services should be made available round the clock. Towards this infrastructure, equipments, staff etc should be augmented and their quality improved by providing them with high-speed vehicles, boats, state-of-art monitoring systems and analytical laboratories.

The PCB should be provided with powers to award on-the-spot punishment to erring factories.

While restructuring the Board, proper representation should be given to local community environmental activists and civil society representations.
A Local Community monitoring system should be implemented in each of the pollution areas in the State to endure compliance of environmental laws.
All illegal outlets into the River Periyar should be removed immediately and effective and periodical monitoring of the legal outlets should be done. The legal outlets should be kept exposed and boards should be established at these points with the company’s name, outlet flow rate and volume and effluent characteristics

The Periyar Action Plan should be reviewed in the changed circumstances and it should be implemented on a time-bound basis.

A Special Environmental Impact Cess should be levied on all factories proportional to the characteristics and volume of the emissions and discharges and this should be used for setting up a fund to compensate the farmers, agriculture labourers, fishermen and local community whose land, air, water and livelihood have been affected.

A Comprehensive Health Impact study should be conducted by an agency such as the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), Ahmedabad and to recommend necessary remediation, treatments and compensation for the affected.

An Environmental Impact Assessment should be conducted in the Periyar River, Eloor, Kadamakkudy, Varapuzha and Kadungalloor Panchayaths by a scientific organization of repute supported by participation form local scientists and local environmental activists.

A Comprehensive and Scientific cleanup and containment should be done of the affected areas, especially those affected with the disposal of hazardous waste. This can start with the now notorious Kuzhikandom Thodu ( polluted by the waste of three factories - Merchem, HIL and FACT) and finally comprising the whole of Edayar-Eloor areas and the adjoining Panchayaths.

Ensure the participation of local environmental activists and public
representatives, workers in the process of planning and implementing the above demands.

And finally, as an immediate measure of containing the pollution in the area,

We demand that

Merchem Company which has been polluting the area since 1998 and operated on a illegally encroached land without the license of the panchayath has to be closed down, as all measures by the people and even the PCB to bring them to book has failed.

Strict and Immediate action should be taken against the Hindustan Insecticides Limited for polluting public water body, stream and wetlands including wells with extremely hazardous chemicals ( 111 chemical including 36 organochlorines detected in the Kuzhikandom Thodu) and continuing to do so.

The Fire in the HIL demonstrated that the public and workers have been victims of the managements negligence and violation of the Water, and Air Consents and the HW Rules. (Please see reports of Greenpeace and the fact Finding Report on the Endosulfan Plant Fire)

Strict and Immediate action should be taken against the Binani Zinc Limited, Edayar, for having violated the Water Act and the HW Rules and polluted streams, rivers, paddy fields, wells and school and private lands with their pollutants from the Jarosite Ponds and effluent discharges.
To stop Cochin Minerals and Rutiles Limited from letting out their effluents into the River Periyar.

This company has repeatedly violating the Water Act and the HW Rules and refuses to comply even with PCB directions.

Stop Indian Rare Earths Limited from storing their radioactive waste containing Thorium, Mesothorium, Uranium etc in this area as it has already heavily contaminated the whole of Eloor and the River Periyar.

Stop all other industries in the Eloor and Edayar Industrial Area which do not have the proper and approved waste treatments facilities and to allow them to function only after the implementation of such facilities and on approval of the local monitoring committee.

Declare a moratorium on all new chemical and other hazardous industries to be setup in this area.

We are submitting herewith some more related documents for your perusal.

Thanking you and expecting favourable and necessary action

Yours truly,
for the Pucl
P. A. Pouran



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