TNPCB to study rate of growth Manali Industrial Area can withstand
CHENNAI: Since air pollution in Manali continues forces residents to protest existing industries and further expansion, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has initiated measures to conduct carrying-capacity study in the air environment for the locality.
The study is being conducted based on a direction from the Southern Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT), which hears a suo motu case on air pollution caused by the industries in Manali.
“Manali falls under the Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI) area. The mechanism for environmental management of critically polluted area issued by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the new and expansion activities, and the mitigation measures proposed for air pollution control, are also being implemented in the existing units,” a report filed by the Board said.
Carrying-capacity means the rate of growth an area can accommodate without violating the area’s environmental capacity goals.
While hearing the case, the NGT directed the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to ensure engagement of possible technological advancement in the industries for controlling pollution instead of relying on the existing technology. “Verify whether industries have adopted norms for the area where several industries function. If so, the SPCB can revisit and fix separate norms for those industries functioning in groups,” NGT directed the SPCB.
As per the report, Manali Industrial Area constitutes 3 fertiliser manufacturing units, 6 petrochemical units, 4 chemical industries, 3 thermal power plants, and 1 oil refinery among others. “TNPCB is monitoring the level of pollutants periodically to ensure the CPCB’s standards are being followed. Action is being taken against the erring units,” the board said.
Pointing out existing stringent standards to monitor the level of pollutants, TNPCB said that framing separate standards was not needed.
Meanwhile, an independent study conducted by activists revealed that air pollutants were discharged in Manali and other north Chennai areas at ‘very unhealthy’ levels. They urged the government not to permit further expansion of existing industries and devise a separate plan for north Chennai to mitigate pollution.
As per the TNPCB report, vehicular movement attached to industries also cause pollution, as over 1,000 trucks and lorries visit the area every day. Of the 20,000 vehicles passing through Manali toll gate, 16,000 are heavy vehicles.