In a recent report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), alarming findings have been revealed regarding water samples drawn from 29 borewells near an ethanol plant. The report states that the water samples were found unfit for drinking, raising serious concerns about public health and environmental safety.
Out of the 29 borewells, 12 exhibited an unpleasant odour, while another five had water that appeared grey or blackish. The concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDS), boron, and sulphates were found to exceed the acceptable limits. Shockingly, water samples taken from two borewells located within the ethanol plant contained significant amounts of heavy metals, including arsenic, chromium, iron, manganese, nickel, and lead.
In response to these alarming findings, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann promptly ordered the immediate closure of the ethanol plant earlier this year. Additionally, it was discovered that 10 borewells and six piezometers were installed on the plant premises without the necessary permissions from regulatory bodies. This violation of guidelines highlights the lack of oversight and accountability in the plant’s operations.
The CPCB report has recommended a thorough investigation to identify the contaminated zone and initiate necessary remedial action. It has directed the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to consider the alleged violations and take measures to decontaminate the affected sites. Moreover, the CPCB has stressed the importance of conducting a detailed environmental site assessment by engaging a professional agency with expertise in assessing and remediating contaminated groundwater and soil.
Furthermore, the PPCB has been instructed to ensure that the plant administration submits a detailed project report for remediating the contaminated groundwater in affected areas. The CPCB has also urged the PPCB to impose environmental compensation or initiate legal action against the plant for causing environmental harm and groundwater contamination.
This contamination crisis near the ethanol plant highlights the urgent need for stricter regulations and monitoring of industrial activities. It serves as a reminder of the potential risks associated with improper waste management and the importance of protecting our water resources. Immediate action must be taken to safeguard public health, restore the affected areas, and prevent similar incidents in the future.
The authorities must collaborate with environmental experts and local communities to develop effective remediation plans, ensure stringent enforcement of regulations, and establish comprehensive monitoring systems. Only through such collective efforts can we ensure the safety of our water sources and protect the well-being of both humans and the environment.