Central pollution watchdog asks UPPCB to inspect illegal car-washing centres
Taking cognisance of a complaint filed by a Noida resident pertaining to groundwater wastage, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has asked the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) to check illegal car-washing centres across the city. The centres are reportedly extracting groundwater to wash vehicles.
According to a complaint filed by Noida Sector 77 resident Amit Gupta, several illegal car-washing centres are operating in the city. Of these, two near his residence were running on a plot of land meant for a public park.
“There are a number of illegal car-washing centres across the city, and all of them use groundwater to wash the cars directly. Generally, authorised car washing centres use treated water or harvested water and generally have tankers to store that water. These illegal washing stations have been operating for years, and some are doing it on the public land,” Gupta said.
In his complaint, Gupta mentioned the illegal car-washing stations running in sectors 76, 77, 49, 74, 116,101 and at DSC Road in Noida.
Following the complaint, the CPCB has directed the UPPCB headquarter in Lucknow to inspect and act against such illegal car-washing centres. “The complaint received on the illegal car-washing centres is self-explanatory. You are requested to ensure investigation and appropriate action at your end under intimation of this office,” said Garima Sharma, assistant secretary, CPCB, in a letter dated July 17 and addressed to the member secretary, UPPCB, Lucknow.
Noida and its adjoining areas had recently been listed as water-stressed due to over-extraction of groundwater. According to an official report, groundwater level in Noida is dropping at an annual rate of 1.8 metres. In some areas of Noida, groundwater is depleting at the rate of 3.9 metres per year.
The district administration — which recently asked the officials to ensure that groundwater is not wasted and take action against establishments wasting groundwater — is, however, yet to issue a formal order.
“We are holding meetings to discuss the issue of groundwater and plan the conservation accordingly. But so far we have not issued any such written order for action against the wastage of groundwater,” said BN Singh, district magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar.
UPPCB officials, meanwhile, said they have not received any formal order from Lucknow. However, they said car-washing centres are often inspected. “We had inspected several car washing centres this year. Of them, 18 were found running without installing an effluent treatment plant (ETP). We got ETPs installed at these centres. We have not received any order about any inspection yet. As soon as we receive the order, illegal car-washing centres will be checked,” said AK Singh, regional officer, UPPCB, Noida.