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MPCB – Taloja industries agree on anti-pollution measures

ByG. Mohiuddin Jeddy
Mar 13, 2023 05:03 PM IST

Following the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order asking Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to dispose within 15 days the application of Taloja Industries Association (TIA) demanding enhancement in the limit of chemical oxygen demand (COD) in the effluents , the MPCB has agreed to take into account issues raised by TAI


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Following the National Green Tribunal (NGT) direction to Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to dispose within 15 days the application of Taloja Industries Association (TIA) demanding enhancement in the limit of chemical oxygen demand (COD) in the effluents released by it, and other contentious issues, both sides have agreed to a host of steps to be taken and the norms to be followed.

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The NGT order had come during the first hearing held in Pune on February 27 following a case filed by TIA against MPCB, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) and Climate Change.

MPCB held a meeting with TIA on Friday that was presided by Pravin Darade, member secretary MPCB and principal secretary Environment. A host of top MPCB officials, TIA office bearers and representatives of concerned departments were present. Those present included Yeshwant Sontakke - Joint Director (Water) MPCB, Smita Gaikwad-Law Officer MPCB, D.B. Patil-RO MPCB Navi Mumbai, Sachin Adkar-SRO MPCB Navi Mumbai, Kailash Bandekar - Superintending Engineer MIDC, Sanjay Nanaware – Executive Engineer MIDC, Anand Gogate-Deputy Engineer MIDC Taloja, Satish Shetty (Anna) - President TIA, Srinath Shetty –Committee member TIA, Srinivasan S. – Director Srikem Laboratories (Member of TIA) and Bidur Bhattacharjee – Secretary General TIA.

According to Satish Shetty, president of TIA, “Several of our members from MPCB-Red, Orange and ZLD categories of Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Petrochemical sectors were aggrieved due to technically flawed policies of MPCB.”

He explained, “COD is basically the level of chemicals that are allowed in the effluents released by industrial units. We wanted the COD limit for the Small-Scale Industries (SSI) effluent discharge to be 2700 cod and not 250 Cod, as required by MPCB. Technically, it’s not possible for any SSI to treat the effluent to 250 cod limits, without doing a secondary treatment, which is not feasible for us.”

He added, “All MSME and SSI units are responsible for doing primary treatment of the effluent only and we are doing that at high cost. The CETP has been established in Taloja for the MSME/SSI units and hence MPCB cannot insist on a zero discharge to SSI units after the first treatment itself. Why are we paying crores of rupees for CETP then? We pay twice and yet are asked to main the level at our end.”

Welcoming the decisions at the meeting, Shetty said, “MPCB agreed to have the COD limits of SSI Industrial units in Taloja MIDC at 2700 COD instead of the existing limit of 250 COD, with immediate effect.”

He added, “After the upgrade of the CETP, MPCB was not permitting expansion and product change. It has now agreed to give Industries permission for expansion and product change. This permission was awaited by the Industries for a long time.”

Confirming the decisions, an MPCB official on condition of anonymity said, “The 2700 COD norm had been prescribed for the SSIs earlier itself. However, off late we had taken certain stringent measures as norms were not followed in some cases. We have now again decided to allow it subject to conditions.”

He informed, “Directions have been given to CETP to install a Scada system (Supervisory Control and Data acquisition) that will enable monitoring of flow of discharge along with measuring the quality of discharge throughout the day.”

He added, “We have also given directions to industries to install online monitoring system that will be connected to the CETP Scada system. It will help us identify units that violate the norms.”

Explained the official, “This will ensure that those who are following the rules and regulations do not get clubbed with the black sheep. There will also be no need for physical inspection by our personnel which no industrialist likes. We will be able to monitor everything from a centralized location.”

Stating that MPCB is committed to reducing pollution by at least 80%, the official said, “MIDC has been instructed to execute the 3.3km extension project of Taloja CETP effluent discharge HDPE pipeline, from Waghavli creek to the deep sea, as per National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) standards. The sea has a great capacity to absorb effluent. The present discharge area has residential colonies close by and hence there are objections.”

Said Shetty, “The meeting was held very cordially to the satisfaction of all the participants viz MPCB, Taloja Industries Association and MIDC. TIA will soon be having another round of meeting to have discussions on our other prayers in our NGT legal case.”


The other issues

Speaking of other issues raised at NGT which will be discussed with MPCB, Shetty said, “There is insistence of Environment clearance for SSI units by MPCB. Old SSI units, set up prior to the EIA notification, should be excluded from the requirement of Environment clearance.”

Demanded Shetty, “Insistence on green zone to the SSI units should be done away with. In MIDC notified areas it is the responsibility of MIDC.”

He concluded, “There is also an absence of buffer zone with respect to development of residential colonies close to the industrial belt here.”

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