Four industrial units closed for polluting Ganga

New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS) The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Wednesday issued closure notice to four industrial units in Uttar Pradesh for discharging effluents directly into the river Ganga.

The pollution monitoring body over the last three weeks inspected 26 industrial units on a 500-km stretch from Kannauj to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

‘Of these, seven were found to be closed during inspection, two were found to be complying with discharge standards, nine required minor improvements while four were issued directions for closure,’ said a senior official from the environment ministry.

‘Three units have been asked to take remedial action while one has been issued a show-cause notice for closure,’ he said.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in August this year after his visit to Kanpur had decided to invoke the Environment Protection Act providing the CPCB the power to issue direct closure or showcause notices to those who exceed the pollution levels.

‘This is the for the first time that the CPCB has invoked Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 which empowers it to issue such directions. So far, the CPCB depended exclusively on issuing directives to State Pollution Control Boards under Section 18 of the Water Act, 1974,’ the official said.

Human and industrial waste have left the sacred river highly polluted and efforts to clean the Ganga have not really borne fruit. Nearly Rs.900 crore ($20 million) have been spent in the last two decades on the Ganga Action Plan.

In the next phase of inspection, the CPCB will take up the inspection of around 402 tanneries in Kanpur that are connected to common effluent treatment plant in the 500-km stretch of Kannauj to Varanasi.

The CPCB is also constituting a dedicated division for monitoring and controlling pollution in the Ganga as part of plans and programmes of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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