Parched for clean water, industrialised Gujarat can show India the way out of pollution mess
Parched for clean water, industrialised Gujarat can show India the way out of pollution mess.
In late February, the country’s supreme court mandated that all polluting industries must ensure that waste water discharges meet quality standards by installing effective primary effluent treatment facilities by March 31, 2017.
River and lake pollution is a major problem across much of India, and regulatory inertia toward industrial waste water has exacerbated the situation.
The Gujarat Pollution Control Board forced non-compliant industrial units to implement a time-bound action plan, including a series of strategies to mitigate water and air pollution within the industrial clusters.
Following recommendations made by the Gujarat government’s water resource department in 2015, the state’s five-year industrial policy has now introduced various financial incentives to help facilities improve waste water quality and curb usage.
According to the agency’s 2014-15 annual report, industrial use of pollution-abatement technologies and upgrades in common effluent treatment plants have mitigated chemical oxygen demand and ammoniac nitrogen in water sources, both measures of industrial pollution.
And neither state nor national environmental controls have improved the quality of water in Gujarat’s rivers, lakes, creeks and coastal areas outside the specified industrial clusters.
Today, access to reliably clean water is still an ongoing challenge for Gujarat.
And given the many new Gujarat government incentives aimed at improving industrial environmental governance, the investment required to upgrade environmental protections no longer looks quite so unprofitable.
Such innovation is not only now financially feasible, it could also help industries to insulate themselves against future water scarcity in the state.