Ghost act

The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (gpcb) has uncovered at least 10 ghost pipelines in the Ankleshwar and Panoli industrial areas through which industrial units were discharging their untreated and highly acidic effluents to underground drainage lines.

A special drive was carried out on April 22, 2006, with joint operations conducted by the Notified Area Authority of the Ankleshwar Industrial Estate and the Ankleshwar Industrial Association.

At least 17 units were asked to close down their operations and seven served with closure notice on charges of pollution. Besides, six trading units were found involved in carrying hazardous effluents from various chemical units and dumping them in open channels. "Industrial units are supposed to send their effluents to a common effluent treatment plant before releasing them to drainage lines. But they were directly discharging the effluents through bypass underground pipelines,' says V R Gadge, regional officer of gpcb at Bharuch.

Following reports of very high level of acidity in these underground drainage lines, gpcb carried out monitoring exercises.

It now plans to install floodlights across drains at regular intervals and take other precautionary measures to uncover waste discharge. Meanwhile, ngos have demanded a comprehensive environment impact assessment in industrial hubs.

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