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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Mumbai: Environmentalists object to factory near bird sanctuary

Snehal Rebello, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, October 02, 2013
First Published: 08:49 IST(2/10/2013) | Last Updated: 08:58 IST(2/10/2013)

Even as the joint inspection to the site of a proposed viscose staple fibre plant close to the Karnala Bird Sanctuary in Raigad district is yet to take place, the Watchdog Foundation, a non-profit organisation, on Tuesday wrote to the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL), asking the committee to reject the red-category industry.

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The foundation has argued that the plant by M/s Lenzing Modi Fibres India Pvt Ltd, which has been proposed to be set up just 1.5kms away from the bird sanctuary and 700 metres away from the Patalganga river, will pollute air and water, and affect wildlife.

According to a 2006 Supreme Court order, any project proposed within 10kms buffer zone of wildlife sanctuaries or national parks will need to be approved by the NBWL under the Union environment ministry.

“No scientific study has been conducted on the tolerance of birds towards such industries. The plant will emit dangerous gases. What’s the point in setting up an industry without conducting a study and then taking measures to mitigate the effects? It’s a useless exercise,” said advocate Godfrey Pimenta of Watchdog Foundation, and a petitioner who moved the National Green Tribunal against the plant.

If set up, the plant is likely to emit 11.65 tonnes of pollutants equivalent to sulphur dioxide per day, amounting to 4,200 tonnes per annum.

“Excess gases in the atmos phere will lead to acid rains and may even acidify the water found in the bird sanctuary, which may ultimately threaten the very existence of birds,” read the letter.

The bird sanctuary is home to 147 species of resident and 37 species of migratory birds.

Environmental and forest clearance can be granted only after a nod from the NBWL.

“It is, however, noticed that the company has thrown all environmental norms to wind and in blatant disregard to the law of land commenced con struction activities at site,” the letter stated.


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