Staff Reporter, The Hindu, 4 April 2007
CHENNAI: Fish in the Uppanar near the SIPCOT industrial estate at Cuddalore are born with genetic deformity, according to a study conducted by student members of the People’s Union for Civil Liberty.
G. Narasimhan, a PUCL student volunteer, who visited the SIPCOT estate in March, said the increased levels of pollution and release of untreated effluent into the waterway had resulted in fish being born with one eye. Several chemical units functioning at the estate were not following the pollution norms prescribed by the Government, he said.
He said the State Pollution Control Board should monitor the levels of emissions and initiate action against polluting units to ensure that the emission levels were within the permissible limits.
The Board and other agencies should ensure that the industries abandoned production processes that were polluting and make them invest in non-polluting production technology, said Siddarth Sareen, another student volunteer.
An extensive groundwater and soil testing in the Cuddalore area had to be done to assess the extent of toxicity and the impact of pollutants as a result of releasing untreated industrial effluents into waterbodies and land, Mr. Sareen said.
A comprehensive health survey of workers and communities in and around the SIPCOT estate had to be conducted.
The work of assessing the health condition of the people should be entrusted to an independent agency and compensation provided to those seriously affected, Mr. Sareen said.
The study also urged the Government not to permit any more polluting units in the estate.
Nearly 25 students from various city colleges visited the place and spent two days in the area and submitted their findings, said V. Suresh, president, PUCL, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.