MPCB warns Badlapur effluent treatment plant after Waldhuni river turns redUpdated: May 15, 2020 23:53 IST
The state pollution control board has pulled up wastewater management after the members of the Ulhasnagar Citizens Forum filed a complaint with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) attaching photographs of Waldhuni river which had turned red due to industrial effluents. Waldhuni, a tributary of the Ulhas river, supplies water to cities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
On Thursday evening, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) issued a notice to the Badlapur common effluent treatment plant (CETP) directing them to respond within 48 hours about the source of the pollution, and that the CETP had failed in curtailing effluents. “If the CETP fails to respond to the direction notice by Sunday, we will initiate legal action and also consider shutting down the plant, which means industries functioning in the area will not be working as well,” said SL Waghmare, regional officer (Kalyan), MPCB.
A three-member team from MPCB surveyed a nine-kilometre stretch of the river from Ulhasnagar railway station to Badlapur, to check the source of the effluents. “We found that the effluents were being released into the CETP where effective treatment was not taking place. However, the source of the red colour is still unclear,” said Waghmare.
The CETP is run by an association of local industrial units. According to CETP operators, 22 pharmaceutical, textile, food processing and chemical industries were functional during the lockdown, sending effluents to the CETP. Normally, 163 industries (130 chemical and 33 textile) are functioning. “The source of the effluent is coming mostly from red dye from one of the textile industries. Our vigilance team of three members have been directed to investigate and inform MPCB at the earliest,” said Khushal S Jain, member, Badlapur CETP. “We will ensure the matter is resolved. If industries are shut it will lead to further job losses in this difficult period.”
According to MPCB’s daily CETP report published on its website, surprisingly all water quality parameters were within safe limits. “The red colour is still there, but within the next couple of days, water quality will further improve,” said Waghmare.
Complainant and member of the citizens’ forum Sanjay Burman denied MPCB’s claim. “The colour has further intensified into almost a maroon shade on the surface of the river, and the foul smell has increased. All state authorities are in hand in glove with the chemical mafia for a long time. The lockdown has finally exposed this,” he said.
“The fact that CETPs have not been performing to the required standards is not hidden from MPCB for many years. Time and again MPCB has offered cover to CETPs instead of taking punitive action,” said Stalin D, director, Vanashakti, a petitioner in the matter before the Supreme Court.