SIPCOT, Cuddalore - Next Bhopal In The Making

by Medindia Content Team on Oct 25 2007 4:27 PM

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a ‘green’ organization in the U.S., has joined hands with the SIPCOT Area Community Environment Monitoring Committee and the environmentalists in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu in their combat against pollution.

As they voice their concerns over pollution levels in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate, the Brigade has proposed to host the Cuddalore problem on its website to expose this problem before a wider audience.

According to Community Organizers Melanie Lawrence and Holly Witherington, the Brigade will support the endeavor to check pollution and negotiate with the industries to keep their emission and effluent levels well within the norms.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, they said that during their two-day stay in Eachankadu, Samiyarpettai and Reddiarpettai, adjacent the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here, the effects of pollution made them actually , sick.

The organizers bemoaned the fact that it was in such hazardous conditions the people were living, even while grappling with the devastations wrought by the tsunami. They cautioned against locating pollution-causing industries, in coastal areas, when there was apprehension over the global warming triggering more of disasters.

The State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) chemical industrial estate was set up in 1982. Notorious for its pollution, more than 19 chemical companies in the area spew poisons into the air all day long.

Nestled among these industries are hapless villages that are trapped in what can only be described as gas chambers. Pollutant levels, including of carcinogens such as ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride, are known to shoot up several tens of thousands of times above safe levels.

The estate is located 8 kms south of Cuddalore town on the seaward side of the Cuddalore-Chidambaram Highway, stretching from Pachaiyankuppam in the North to Semmankuppam in the South .

A few companies such as EID Parry, Arkema Peroxide, Clariant and Bayer operate outside the SIPCOT limits but in the vicinity of the Estate. These companies manufacture pesticides and intermediates, pharmaceuticals and intermediates, chemicals, plastics and plastic additives, dyes and intermediates and textiles.

Cuddalore is soon to become the pollution capital of Tamil Nadu. Already, chemical industries in SIPCOT are discharging deadly effluents in the sea at Rasapettai. The sea near the effluent discharge point is deep red in color. It won't be long before fish consumers begin avoiding Cuddalore fish because of the high levels of poisons in the meat. Agriculture is no longer practiced in and around the SIPCOT Industrial Estate, because indiscriminately dumped toxic wastes have poisoned the land and groundwater.