The urban areas of India are nowadays growing into bigger agglomerations with ever increasing pollution due to haphazard and uncontrolled developmental activities. This increasing pollution can be attributed to a score of factors like lack of environmental planning, economic issues, social policies and a lot others. There are a lot of examples of such polluted places in India, and Coimbatore comes into prominence, thanks to its foundries.
Coimbatore, one of India's leading industrial centres with excellent potential for industrial growth, is spread about 105.6 sq. km and has a population of 1.1 million highly diverse people. Coimbatore is the second biggest city in Tamil Nadu after Chennai, and is blessed with a wonderful climate, sweet siruvani water and high number of educational institutions.
The presence of industrial activities on a large scale, in and around Coimbatore, tends to have a strong impact on the environmental quality of the City, particularly the vital component of air. Though vehicular emissions, construction-related activities, and garbage burning form sources of air pollution, the industrial emissions from small-scale industries mainly the foundries assume higher environmental significance.
The concentration of foundries within the city and the lack of state of the art facilities tends to take its toll on the city' environment and thereby make Coimbatore a severely air polluted place. Apart from the proficient and high scale foundries, there are about 250 small and medium scale industries in Coimbatore, which are severe threats for environmental pollution.
The small and medium sized foundries are located every 2 kms in the industrial radius Coimbatore, especially in the industrial areas of Avarampalayam, Ganapathy, and Peelamedu. The emergence of these small-scale industries coupled with the educational development of these areas made these areas a great growth for residential developers. Once residences started coming on these industrial areas, the industries were asked to relocate by the TNPCB (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board), and even after relocation, some industries are asked to re relocate themselves in the interest of serving excessive population. This is a clear lack of discipline amongst people, and lack of cohesion for attainment of common growth.
After finding that relocation won't work out, the TNCPB (Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board) ordered the industries to install emission control devices. Earlier the electrostatic precipitators were suggested and after considering the economic status of these small-scale foundries, wet collection devices like the cyclone scrubbers were suggested. The cost of these devices would range to 40,000 and 50,000Rs,and these were found hard to bear for these industries. We should be reminded that these industries are set up under the initial cost of 75,000 rupees, and hardly making profits, thanks to the lag of industrial activity after bomb blasts and huge competition. They are now trying to get time and push another design of scrubber that costs only 25,000.However the only aim of these time lags is to avoid actions, as these foundries are never inclined to set up these industries.
After a low profile activities for the past half a dozen years, the foundries suddenly saw a great business opportunity when the European countries concentrated on importing foundry products from India. The European market in itself is a telling story. The European foundries were ordered to close since they couldn't cope up with the Environmental Standards (given that their emissions are 50% less toxic than ours), and the Europeans moved on to Howrah and Coimbatore for their foundry products.
The business starved foundry owners were too concerned not to miss the offer, and started competing with each other for production. And at this stage, any investment in pollution control devices would be a mis-investment for them.
While the TNPCB is fighting for the community and the small-scale foundries for themselves, no one has cared for the 3000 odd workers who work in these foundries. Their health conditions are entirely harmful. Health effects affect almost 95% of these workers (simpletons and uneducated persons). And nobody has thought of providing them with safety equipments. Yours truly couldn't find a 15 minute emission breathable, just imagine the plight of the persons who inhale them for 6 hours a day. A nearby doctor says that these people suffering continuous emissions are prone to death in 8-15 years.
For the past three or four years, this problem is getting aggravated by NGOs, but the TNPCB and these foundries are yet to come to a solution, and never seem to come to one in the near future. The valuable lives of neighboring people and workers deteriorate, thanks to the money greedy people.
The study of a solution to this problem lead to two significant points that are however not related to environmental areas. First one being the lack of discipline in our people, and the other is to put economy the top priority even prior to safety in life When will India place environment more prior to economy? I beg the concerned people to look after this issue immediately, with a lot of discipline. An Indian life is worth the same value as the English life.