SIPCOT Company dumps hazardous waste in the village backyard; SACEM demands action against the unit

Cuddalore, 8 August 2005: A SIPCOT based unit has allegedly dumped effluents and sludge in behind Sonanchavadi village in SIPCOT Cuddalore. The waste was dumped in a small pond about 20 feet away from the houses in Sonanchavadi and about 100 meters away from river Uppanar. According to the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors (SACEM), two truckloads of effluents were dumped on the spot between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on August 7, 2005. The monitors also reported strong acid like odour from the spot and mentioned that the toxic waste was red in colour. A formal complaint in this matter has been registered by the Semmankuppam panchayat president.

According to the monitors, this is not the first time that hazardous wastes have been dumped in the area. On 28 July monitors made a formal complaint to the District Environmental Engineer, of illegal dumping of effluents by Pondicherry Alum. The complaint was made in the presence of the Local Area Environment Committee chairperson. No punitive action was taken against the company by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board despite the fact that dumping of hazardous waste is a criminal offence. SACEM calls for immediate investigation into the two reported incidents and recommends procedural action including criminal prosecution against the polluters.