Unfazed by censure, Maharashtra’s polluting factories make its rivers filthiest in India
For the last 15 years, Parkar has been campaigning against river pollution in the area, engaging with the officials of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) as well as the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) which maintains the belt.
Of the 156 locations where the CPCB has set up its monitoring units on the 49 rivers and tributaries in the state, 153 do not meet the water quality criteria, according to the CPCB.
Pune attracted 45% of the notices (2,392 of 5,276) issued to polluting factories between 2011 and 2016.
These regions, along with Navi Mumbai, are among the top six in the list of regions served the most notices by the MPCB.
In Kolhapur, which has the second-highest number of defaulting factories, 64% of red-category notices were issued to medium and small-scale units.
One malfunctioning effluent plant can raise pollution levels down an entire belt The lax monitoring of and prosecution for water pollution in the state means that Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) routinely flout environmental guidelines on discharging untreated effluents into rivers.
As Boralkar pointed out, medium and small-scale industries depend on common plants for the mandatory treatment of their chemical waste.
Currently, Maharashtra has 24 CETPs; five more are set to come up.
Three years before that, in 2013, the level of pollutants in treated effluent was found to be “dangerously high” at three CETPs in Pune.
He doesn’t think much of the MPCB issuing 5,000-odd notices to erring industrial units in five years.