Korba in Chhattisgarh is among three newly identified critically polluted areas (CPAs) in the country with the collected sampling of ‘Volatile Organic Compounds” (VOCs), according to the 2014-15 annual report of the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests.
The other two locations in the country are Bhiwadi ( Rajasthan) and Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh).
The water samples collected were analysed for 43 VOCs in the country by ‘Purge & Trap Concentration’ followed by ‘GC-MS analysis’. The analytical data indicated presence of some Volatile Organic compounds in surface water at some critically polluted areas, the report stated.
VOCs are carbon containing compounds that readily evaporate at normal air temperature. Fuel oils, gasoline, industrial solvents, paints & dyes are the major sources of VOCs, it stated.
The ‘US-EPA’ lists 68 most common VOCs for environment assessment from the known sources, the report stated. These 68 VOCs cover a wide range of chemical compounds that have different physical and chemical properties and different levels of toxity.
Chlorinated VOCs are associated with commercial and industrial use and include dozens of chemicals that are typically very mobile, persistent and toxic in the environment, it stated.
These non chlorinated chemicals are persistent, volatile, but less toxic than chlorinated solvents, it stated.
VOCs are very mobile and these may be dissolved and washed out with run off water reaching surface water sources and may leach into the ground water, the report stated.
It may be recalled that Housing and Environment Minister Rajesh Munat had already handed over a stern warning to owners of industrial units in June this year that if they fail to install ‘online monitoring chip’ for facilitating checking of pollution levels by August 15, their units would be asked to shut shop.
Munat while reviewing the work of Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board (CECB) had stated that the owners of industrial units and lease holders of mines would not have to visit the CECB office for getting various environmental clearances. ‘The process had been made online’, he said.
The environment clearance certificate will also be issued online, the Minister said. Munat had also directed that all the work process of CECB must completely be computerised.
‘It is suggested that the computerization processes in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra be studied’, he said.
The work process of CECB should be made completely transparent, Munat said
Minister said that the industrial units generating polluted water must recycle waste water and then only the exit of such water should be allowed out of the unit.
Munat also directed officials to ensure that all concerned units have water treatment plants established.
The Minister also asked officials to get installed an ‘online monitoring server’ at CECB for monitoring of pollution levels of various industrial units.
Additional Chief Secretary N Baijendra Kumar had stated that the work process of CECB would be fully computerized with the help of National Informatics Centre (NIC) so that the applicants are provided online application filing facility besides bringing about total transparency in the working of the Board.
Notably, the Chhattisgarh government started deliberations in March this year over ‘cluster wise’ shifting of polluting industrial units to regions away from Raipur city.
No more new polluting industrial units will be established around Raipur city and in public interest, such existing industrial units would be either shifted or shut down.
This was decided earlier in a meeting chaired by Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Housing and Environment, N Baijendra Kumar and industry representatives of Urla-Siltara Industrial Area near Raipur.
During the meeting, industry representatives were informed about State Government's proposal for shifting of pollution causing industrial units to some other place and discussion was held over the issue in the meeting.
“Considering the environmental pollution, cluster wise shifting of industries has been proposed,” the ACS said while instructing them to seriously comply with environmental rules.
The owners of industrial units were directed to strictly use ESP for lowering smoke emission, so that people may be able to get relief from the smoke problem.
“For decreasing pollution level in Raipur city, the State Government has begun the discussion for shifting pollution causing industries located in Urla and Siltara to some other place,” he said, adding, pollution causing industries will no longer be supported.
“Whatever the process the Government is going to adopt will be transparent, however, your suggestions in developing criteria for the same would be important,” the ACS told industry representatives.
The way Korba Action Plan was prepared and implemented, a similar kind of plan needs to be prepared for industries around Raipur. Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board will keep an eye on it, he said.