Effluents from more than 12 steel-based plants in the city, which use hydrochloric acid (HCl) for the pickling process, are flowing into the already polluted Buddha Nullah, the sewerage or bored deep into the earth without treatment.
These plants, discharging poisonous material into the nullah, have no treatment facilities. Interestingly, these industries have an agreement for removal of effluents with JBR Technologies Private Limited, located on the Kohara-Macchiwara road, which treats sulphuric acid but not HCl.
Following a complaint, a team of environmental engineers of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) took samples from the pickling tanks of about 24 industries between May 31 and June 4. As many as 12 units were found to be using HCl, nine sulphuric acid and three were using both.
The pickling process is done on steel for smoothening and making it rust-free. The HCl process is comparatively cheaper than the sulphuric acid process but the pollutants emitted are much more dangerous. As per information, 50 lakh litre HCl is consumed per month by the industries of Ludhiana.
The JBR group is re-processing sulphuric acid and not HCl while the agreements with the industries reveal the particular company is hired on contract for treating HCl too. A sister firm was also opened by the JBR group but that never got the consent to operate. However, inspection showed that power worth lacks of rupees was consumed by the sister firm.
Rajinder Singh of the JBR group said they had another plant to treat HCl in the Focal Point area. Around 30,000 litre water containing HCl was treated there daily, which was ultimately recycled.
Asked about 50 lakh litre HCl consumed by the industry in Ludhiana and where the excess water went, Rajinder Singh said it was the duty of the PPCB to keep the industry and use of HCl in check.
Anurag Verma, Principal Secretary, Department of Science, Technology and Environment, Government of Punjab, said a complaint had been received against many industries and teams had been formed for inspection. “Action as per law will be taken against the industries. This can include closure of units or huge environmental compensation,” said Verma.
Rajesh Goyal from KISCON Industries said they had an agreement with the JBR group for lifting the HCl for treatment. “Now, we are not aware what the company does. We were giving it money for HCl treatment,” Goyal said.
Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by Water Today staff and is generated from news feeds. Source: The Tribune