CUDDALORE: Residents of villages near SIPCOT here have alleged that a chemical company in the SIPCOT compound discharged untreated effluents into River Uppanar on Saturday, causing irritation to eyes and itching to many people.
Several chemical companies function in SIPCOT and complaints of river pollution have been raised earlier also.
Semmangkuppam villagers on Sunday said the river water has a strange colour after the effluent release and a oil like substance has spread across the waterbody. Upon taking some water to check the changes, itching began to develop on the villagers’ hands. They added that when near the river, their eyes got irritated and the water gave them a feeling of nausea.
Pugazendhi and Ramalingam belonging to the SIPCOT Area Community Environment Monitoring (SACEM) has informed the Collector and the district environment engineer about the situation. “A few companies here reportedly discharge effluents into the river when there is more inflow. As there was moderate rainfall on Friday night, a company has released effluents in the river expecting the rainfall to dilute it,” they said.
T Arulselvam, coordinator of the SACEM, said groundwater was already polluted in the area and it was not suitable for drinking. Citing the direction from the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to supply safe drinking water to the village people surrounding SIPCOT, Arulselvam said, “The villages here are yet to get safe drinking water despite the NGT’s direction.
Making matters worse, the companies continue to pollute the environment. Mixing of effluents with sea water will affect the marine biology. The district environment engineer and officials of the TN Pollution Control Board has failed to act tough on the erring companies. Even on Saturday, the officials of the board took time to turn up at the spot.”
The pollution control board officials have taken water samples from the spot for inspection. “After the report is submitted, the district administration would initiate action against the company that discharged effluents into the river,” an official said.