Residents of Crossings Republik, Ghaziabad, heaved a sigh of relief following the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board’s (UPPCB) order to immediately shutdown operations in Continental Carbon India Limited (CCIL), a major air polluting industrial unit located opposite to the residential township on NH 24. UPPCB and the district administration initiated the shutdown of the carbon black manufacturer on Wednesday under provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
Although this news brought immense relief for residents of nearby high rises, they are not completely satisfied. “This solution seems to be temporary. The plant was closed a few years back for the same reasons. However, operations had resumed after some time,” says a resident.
The District Pollution Control Board had earlier written to the UP Pollution Control Board, recommending the closure of CCIL. The request was made after tests were conducted in and around the carbon factory.
According to the UPPCB’s order, several discrepancies were found during the inspection of the factory premises. The order says that there were no pollution control measures installed on the chimneys and the flare stacks of the factory. Moreover, the surrounding area and the plant were also covered by a layer of carbon particles.
The joint team of officials also conducted a stack monitoring exercise in the plant and found a particulate matter(pm) concentration level of 180mg/cubic meter, which officials say is considerably higher than the permissible limit. The UPPCB has also directed the UP Power Corporation Limited and the Jal Board to disconnect water and power supply to the plant.
After the order, CCIL said that the shutdown process has already been initiated. However, their official response letter said that that the production cannot be shutdown abruptly as ‘the chemical reaction process is at a high temperature’. The letter further maintained that complete shutdown will take place at 11pm on December 15.
Speaking to City Spidey, Ajay Sharma, regional officer of UPPCB said that the shutdown was initiated as inspections had revealed that the plant management had not taken adequate measures for checking air pollution. “It is the responsibility of the polluting source to take measures to check air pollution,” Sharma said. One being asked if there were any other polluting units which might face similar action; Sharma said that there were about six other industrial units.
Kshitiz Singhal, a resident of Paramount Symphony, a Crossings Republik society said that although the action of the government brings great relief, shutting the plant completely is not a solution. “The government and the administration must make sure that these industries take sufficient measures to check their own emissions. Since both the residential and industrial areas are close by, the pollution control departments must make sure that the units also have proper pollution control measures in place,” said Singhal.
Similar views were shared by Sanjay Kumar Jha from Gaur Global Village. Jha added that a sudden shutdown of an industrial unit of such a scale will impact the livelihood of many people and families. “The government must look for ways to relocate these units away from residential areas and look for other long term solutions,” he stated.