Citizens Against Pollution, a Hyderabad-based organisation, has opposed the Telangana Government’s plan to set up a separate Hyderabad Pharma City saying that the existing pharma industry is responsible for severe pharma pollution and existence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the city’s water bodies. The organisation comprises of environment policy experts, former scientists, and environment activists.
“The idea of putting Hyderabad on the international map by setting up pharma city ignores the fact that this city is already on the international map for several reasons, including severe pharma pollution and existence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in its water bodies. Telangana is suffering immensely from industrial pollution, particularly by pharmaceutical companies. Our rivers, lakes and groundwater are getting polluted severely. Several studies by national and international institutions have shown that hazardous chemicals have completely contaminated our groundwater. Several villages, in Medak, Nalgonda, Rangareddy and Mahabubnagar districts, are facing this problem. Health of villagers is seriously and severely affected. Their livelihoods are vanishing, and in general, poverty is on the rise. At this stage, it would be foolish to invite and establish more pharmaceutical units,’’ a statement from the organisation said.
Pointing out that Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City was established at Parawada near Visakhapatnam with same objectives as Hyderabad pharma city, with the latest technologies for treating pollution and centralized facilities, the organisation said that since 2013, there have been 25 major accidents with 23 deaths and 73 severely injured there.
The Polepally Chemical SEZ at Jadcherla on the outskirts of Hyderabad also witnessed several explosions and fires killing workers and damaging local ecology, the organisation said.
Environment policy expert Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi said that expanding the existing pharma industry in and around Hyderabad will prove dangerous to the city. “Hyderabad Pharma City project at Medipally is a disaster in making. This project has the potential to destroy local natural resources, including agricultural lands, groundwater reserves, vegetation, water tanks, lakes and other water resources. A pharma city can never be a harbinger of hopes and dreams of local people,’’ he said.
The organisation said that pharmaceutical companies across Telangana, as experience shows, have a negative impact on local economy, eroding resources and destroying livelihoods. Local environment is severely and irreversibly degraded due to effluents and emissions from the pharma industry, according to him. The US and European pharma industry has stopped producing many drugs due to severe restrictions on pollution, Dr Reddy said.