Recent readings by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) show that toxicity levels of effluents from both Vapi and Ankleshwar industrial clusters are way above permitted norms,sometimes many times the permitted levels.
The readings are significant because it shows there has been little improvement after the CPCBs latest Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) assessment in 2011,which shows pollution in Vapi has worsened so much over the last two years that it is now the most polluted industrial cluster in India.
The effluent readings suggest this may be due to water pollution,which is consistent with the CEPI readings that show water pollution has increased most there,more than air or land pollution.
The CPCBs latest readings,reported in February this year,show the effluent discharged by the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) at Vapi had a Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) of 467 mg/litre,almost twice the permissible limit of 250 mg/litre. The Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) was 8078 mg/litre,more than two-and-a-half-times the permitted levels of 2,100 mg/litre.
Significantly,the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had,in September last,lifted a moratorium on new industries and expansion of exiting ones at Vapi. Environmentalists had criticised the move saying it was based on promises and not on action.
The readings for the CETP and the Final Effluent Treatment Plant (FETP) at Ankleshwar,currently the seventh most polluted cluster in India,was even worse.
Taken on March 29,the readings show the CETP had COD levels of 1246 mg/litre,more than four times the permitted amount. TDS readings showed 13,424 mg/litre,more than five times that permitted.
Similarly,the FETP readings,taken on April 28,showed COD as 552 mg/litre,more than twice the permitted level,and TDS of 7034 mg/litre,more than thrice the norm. The CETPs were set up with the central and the state governments footing 50 per cent of the capital costs. In case of the FETP,the central and state governments and the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation together footed 83 per cent of capital costs.