PCB sitting mum on air pollution complaints
By Ajay Kanth | Express News Service | Published: 09th January 2017 06:00 AM |
KOZHIKODE: Kerala has been pitching loud for environment protection. But, strange as it may seem, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) believes that the situation is not scary. Not a single case has been booked under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.While the data with National Crime Records Bureau Report 2015 shows that no case has been registered under Air Act in Kerala, the PCB has an explanation for it: “Though we have not registered any case against the polluters under the said Act, we have issued closure notices to nearly 20 air polluting companies in Perumbavoor region.”
Pollution Control Board Chairman K Sajeevan said preparing evidence in case of air pollution was not that easy compared to water pollution. “We have directed 20 firms to close down for polluting air though no cases have been registered against them,” he added.Environmentalists say though the Air Act has provisions to initiate criminal proceedings against the violators, the officials at PCB were not keen to utilise it. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, provides for a punishment of not less than 1.5 years for norm violations.
“There is a relevant Act to punish those who make air unfit for breathing. But the authorities are not willing to implement it. We can plainly say that there in no agency to book the culprits,” said renowned environmentalist T Shobeendran. “We don’t see any enforcement,” he added.
As per the NCRB data, of the total 15 environmental related cases registered in 2015, 12 were under Forest Act, two under Wildlife Protection Act and one Environmental (Protection) Act. Not a single case was registered under Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act when main water bodies in the state get polluted due to indiscriminate dumping of chemical waste and effluent by various companies.