Liquor companies in the country can soon claim that they are going green.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will ask distilleries across India to ensure that there is zero discharge of pollutants into water bodies and the ground. This comes after the CPCB found that there was high discharge of pollutants from 24 distilleries into Ganga.
The discharge from liquor factories normally contains very low dissolved oxygen and high quantity of chemicals, which adversely impact aquatic life. Distilleries are among the 17 categories of major polluting industries in India, the environment ministry had recently told Parliament.
The pollution board, which has tested the discharge from distilleries in several states, including UP, Punjab and Haryana, found that most of them were not complying with the norms especially on dissolved oxygen, a key criterion in measuring quality of water.
Taking cognisance of high emissions, environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan said, “We will adopt a zero tolerance policy towards discharge of pollutants into water bodies.”
The ministry has asked the pollution board to issue “adequate” directions to the distilleries to install equipment to trap pollutants and treat waste water. “All pollutants can be removed from distillery waste water,” a CPCB scientist said.
To ensure that there is fair play, a ministry official added that the distilleries would get about a year to comply with the norms. If they fail to comply, the CPBC will issue closure notices.
The pollution regulator has also instructed paper industry on Ganga river basin to comply with pollution norms by the end of December or face closure. “We will also issue notices to petro-chemicals industries for meeting the emission and discharge norms,” Natarajan said.