Pollution: Villagers seek closure of Synthite factory in Andhra Pradesh

The villagers filed a complaint with Bapatla in-charge collector about the harmful waste posing a threat to public health and demanded the factory’s closure.
Representative Image
Representative Image

GUNTUR: After several villagers fell ill due to harmful waste released from the Synthite factory, Korisapadu villagers in Bapatla district are demanding officials to shut down the factory. The villagers filed a complaint with Bapatla in-charge collector, CH Sridhar, about the harmful waste posing a threat to public health and demanded the factory’s closure. Following numerous complaints from the local people, Sridhar visited the Korisapadu mandal office and held a meeting with the villagers and factory officials on Monday.

Complaining about the problems faced by the factory, a villager, M Sanjeeva Rao said, “We hoped that our children would get employment from the factory, but the waste being released is causing severe health issues, including respiratory and health diseases, and severe skin irritation. Over 20,000 people in nearby villages are suffering due to the release of chilli oil and heavy production of waste.”

He also alleged that the factory management is threatening villagers who demand its closure.

The water in the Yerrabalem lake is polluted due to harmful chemicals, leading to cattle deaths from water consumption. The villagers reported that production waste is being dumped in huge pits behind the factory, severely impacting nearby fields and crops. They also informed the Collector that the factory management has illegally occupied land and constructed a road.

Pollution Control Board Assistant Engineer Bhaskar Varma said the factory was set up in 2013 with a production capacity of 60 tonnes, later increased to 100 tonnes. As a result, over 40 tonnes of chilli waste is being produced, causing severe inconvenience to the villagers. According to regulations, only rice husk should be used in the boilers during the processing of chillies. However, in recent months, the factory management has been using the extract released during the pre-processing stage in the boilers, increasing the pungency of the waste. A team from IIT Madras confirmed this during a primary investigation in February. The factory management, however, claims the extract is used only with permissions from the State Pollution Control Board.

A thorough investigation will be conducted on the extracts used in the processing of chilli oil and the pollutants released. Sridhar assured the villagers that the committee will conduct inspections in their presence and the issue will be resolved.

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