Thursday , 19 September 2019
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2 detergent units to face the music for polluting Harvalem waterfall

PANAJI: The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has decided to forfeit the bank guarantee amounting to Rs 7.50 lakh of two detergent manufacturing companies Esteem Industries Pvt Ltd and VIC Industries located in the Pissurlem industrial estate.

The action is being taken against the units for showing negligence in handling raw material used for preparing liquid detergent, which had got leaked into a nullah and turned into foam after coming in contact with the famous Harvalem waterfall, which is a tourist spot, in Bicholim taluka.

The pollution control board has also warned of action against the units including revoking their consent if they fail to comply with the consent conditions.

The units have violated conditions stipulated under the consent to operate. The units lack a provision to trap the rainwater runoff from the factory premises and they handled the raw material and kept empty drums in an open area.

According to inspection report, both the industries had stored raw material and finished product in sealed containers and kept them in an open area without covering them near the compound wall of VlC Industries Pvt Ltd, which is a sister concern of Esteem Industries. As a result, the liquid got discharged into a storm water drain and further ran into a nullah due to rain.

It was also observed that the unit has constructed a warehouse but it was never utilised and the raw material continued to be handled in open area. Moreover, tanker carrying nonylphenol was found leaking in the premises of VIC Industries.

Nonylphenol is a toxic xenobiotic compound classified as an endocrine disrupter capable of interfering with the hormonal system of numerous organisms.

However, the chemical analysis of water samples collected from the site showed the level of phenol concentration, BOD, COD, DO and other physical and biological pollutants within the limits, as the raw chemicals discharged from the containers got diluted into the water body and got mixed with it.

The pollution control board officials say that the bank guarantee of Rs 7.50 lakh was obtained last year from Esteem Industries Pvt Ltd for not maintaining the effluent treatment plant, which also treats the waste water of VlC Industries Pvt Ltd.

It may be noted that the pollution control board had issued a show-cause notices to both the units on August 16 seeking reply in three days as to why their consent to operate should not be revoked and the operation of unit be suspended.

The consent to operate of Esteem Industries Pvt Ltd is valid till January 2019 and VIC Industries Pvt Ltd’s consent will expire in December 2021.

However, in reply, the management of company denied that the chemicals were leaked from their premises and said that the foam was generated from soap after washing dishes. They claimed that the stock of raw material which was stored outside in the open was received in advance from the supplier due to a strike in Maharashtra.

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