Industry, Including Coca-Cola, Pulled up for Pollution of Rivers
Bangalore: A bench of the Lok Adalat on Saturday took to task the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), district administrations of Ramanagara and Bangalore Urban, and industry majors Toyota and Coca Cola, holding them responsible for the continued contamination of the Vrishabhavathi and Arkavathi rivers and the soil of the region.
The bench comprising High Court judge Justice D V Shylendra Kumar and Lok Adalat member A N Yellappa Reddy directed KSPCB to check the contamination of the two major river systems by ensuring that all industries in the Bidadi Industrial area mandatorily set up effluent treatment plants.
The Adalat also directed KSPCB to monitor the possible pollution contributors and ensure detection and prevention of pollution on a regular basis. KSPCB has also been directed to coordinate with departments concerned and put a proper system in place to check pollution.
Terming it as a “cruel irony,” Justice Kumar said that the people of the region who had sacrificed their lands were subjected to high pollution levels, with their land, water and soil being chemically contaminated by the industries which had “snatched away” their lands to set up their units.
The Adalat criticised industries, especially Toyota and Coca Cola for failing to treat effluents and directly letting them into the river systems.
When KSPCB officials made concerted efforts to defend the industries by stating that effluent plants had been set up, the Adalat wondered why large scale pollution was still visible to the naked eye.
“Don’t try to sell this argument to us. This is all just an eye wash. The rivers aren’t rivers anymore – they are just sources carrying chemicals. The pollutants have entered the underground drainage system and have affected large tracts of agriculture land in the district.”
“Around 20,000 acres of land in 30 villages including Byramangala have turned into sewage and effluent dumps. Even the reservoirs are threatened by these effluents,” said Justice Kumar, adding that KSPCB was not even aware of the problem.
Reddy contended that the electrical conductivity of the soil used in this region was seven, while the permissible limit was only two.
“The whole land is suffering from cancer. Further when two post graduate students from R V Engineering college submitted a report highlighting the high effluent emanation by Toyota, KSPCB instead of accepting the report, threatens the two students for entering the plant. Also, it is a fact that Coca Cola has been found dumping its cadmium sludge in Mangalore,” said Reddy.
According to a horticulture department official, the crops grown had lost their resistance, while the entire coconut growing area of 4,000 acres had been badly affected due to contamination of soil.
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