Irrespective of claims of action and preventive initiatives by the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB), large and medium-scale industries continue to pollute air and water in the state with élan over last several years.
Over past several years, anywhere between 250 and 450 industries have been violating air and water pollution norms, RTI documents obtained from the MPPCB show.
According to experts, continuing pollution of air and water could have very serious implications, not only on human health, but also on flora and fauna.
The latest monitoring report of the MPPCB shows that 252 industries flouted the pollution norms during the year 2014-15.
Among them, 150 were found to be causing water pollution while 103 were found polluting air in their surroundings (including industries violating norms of source discharge of particulate matter).
The number of polluting units is especially high in Bhopal region, with 22 industries flouting water pollution norms and 49 violating air pollution rules.
Both air and water pollution reports from the Satna regional office and air pollution related reports from Katni regional office of the MPPCB were not available, meaning the number of violators could actually be higher.
There are in all 13 regional offices of PCB monitoring the pollution levels.
Last year (2013-14), the number of the errant industries in the state was 279 with 160 industries flouting the water pollution norms and 119 flouting air pollution norms.
During past years the number of polluting industries has varied, but has been over 250 almost consistently.
The situation continues since last several years and many of the industries have been featuring on the list of violators regularly, indicating that the pollution control board has failed to rein them, activist Ajay Dubey who obtained the documents through RTI said.
The PCB claims that it serves closure notices upon the errant industries and takes action in case of failure to reply satisfactorily, but the fact that violators have been repeated year after year puts a question mark on this claim, the activist said.
“When an industry gets environment consent, it is an agreement where both the parties - industry as well as the PCB - that are responsible to control pollution. But reports over years show this is not happening,” Dubey said.
The MPPCB monitors the release of effluents that pollute water and air by the industries under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
These legislations prescribe the safe limits for polluting elements in water and air respectively. Any discharge beyond these limits cause serious pollution of water and air.
Chairman of the board NP Shukla said legal action is initiated on repeat violators. “We have initiated many measures, especially online monitoring system for cement, power and pharmaceutical units with public display system. Soon the system would be linked to PCB main office in Bhopal and this would make the monitoring more effective,” he said.
Environment and housing minister Kailash Vijayvargiya also said pollution control was high on agenda of government.
“We have taken special steps during the last one and half years and pressure has been stepped up on industries on install pollution control plants/ devices. We would not allow any slackness,” Vijayvargiya said.