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Green glare at fertiliser plants

POLLUTION WORRY: Gypsum mound at the Iffco fertiliser plant in Paradip. Telegraph picture

Paradip: The Odisha State Pollution Control Board has directed two fertiliser plants here to make their effluent management system foolproof to plug possible discharge of waste materials from gypsum mounds to the peripheral water bodies.

The pollution watchdog's directives came in the wake of complaint lodged by green activists expressing concern over the water pollution sources from the gypsum mounds.

"After complaints were received by us, the board is conducting probe to ascertain the veracity of allegations," said the board's regional officer Mukesh Mahaling.

The directives have been issued to Paradip-based Iffco fertiliser plant and Paradip Phosphates Limited (PPL) to further invigorate the pollution control mechanism to keep tabs on water pollution. "There is likelihood of waste particles drained out from gypsum mounds to water inlets and creeks nearby the plants due to the monsoon rain. So, the plant authorities were warned to plug the discharge of effluents," he said.

Both the fertiliser manufacturing units are generating gypsum waste deposit to the tune of 25 lakh tonnes annually. On an average, 2.5 lakh tonne adds to the waste deposit every month.

"The hoarding of gypsum by the fertiliser manufacturing units has become a constant source of air and water pollution in localities adjacent to the industrial unit. The accumulated gypsum industrial waste has assumed mammoth proportion. It has become a major health hazard. Besides, it has become a potential of water pollution in the region," said environment activist Ayashkant Ray.

Signs of gypsum-induced pollution are visible in a vast expanse around the fertiliser plant site. Residents in the plant-side slums are putting up with pollution as air-borne gypsum dusts are encircling their settlements. Vegetation is found covered with thick layer of gypsum dusts. It's impeding their growth. Besides, waste particles are making their way to the adjoining water bodies spelling doom for aquatic lives," he said.

"The company management has installed a foolproof pollution control mechanism at the plant. It is maintaining ambient water and air quality standard. Our focus has always been on pollution control and industrial safety mechanism. The allegations that the fertiliser unit is perpetrating pollution are not true," said Iffco senior executive Prasanna Kumar Beura.

An official of the PPL, Madhusmit Pati, also spoke on the same line.

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