Mumbai’s blue dogs: Pollution board shuts down dye industry after HT report
The state pollution control board shut down the Navi Mumbai-based private company that was releasing untreated industrial waste into the Kasadi river at Taloja, and was discharging residual dye powder into the air and in the water, which was turning dogs in the area blue.
HT first reported on August 11 about the dogs mysteriously turning blue, after residents spotted the canines. After local activists filed a complaint with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), it was discovered that a private company was releasing blue dye into the air and the river water.
Officials from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) told HT that a closure notice was issued on Friday night and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has been asked to cut water supply to the firm.
The pollution board issued a show-cause notice on Wednesday. However, after witnessing that there were no pollution abatement measures being followed by the firm, it was shut down.
“There are a set of norms that every industry needs to follow. After our sub-regional officers confirmed media reports that dogs were indeed turning blue due to air and water pollution, we conducted a detailed survey at the plant,” said Anil Mohekar, regional officer, MPCB Navi Mumbai, adding that once they found out that none of the directions under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, were being followed by the private company, closure directions were issued.
“Ducol Organics Pvt Ltd. is harming animals and birds in the area. We cannot let such an industry function. We will ensure that the plant does not function from Monday and the decision sets an example for other polluting industries, which may not be following pollution abatement measures,” he said.
According to MPCB, the fur of five dogs from the industrial area had turned blue. Veterinarians from a hospital examined all five dogs and admitted one of them to the hospital for pathology tests. A blood report revealed that the dog was healthy, did not have any infection and the blue dye was water soluble.
However, animal welfare activist Arati Chauhan from Navi Mumbai Animal Protection cell, who first identified the problem through the pictures of a dog, said shutting down the industry was not a solution as it was not addressing the larger issue of other polluters in the area. “Shutting down one industry, as MPCB has done, only results in daily wage labourers losing their bread and butter. There are many other industries in the area that pose a threat to the flora, fauna and a threat of more such cases is a possibility,” she said. “There is a need for pollution monitoring of all plants and development of adequate green cover around industrial sites.”