Toxic PVC facility haunts SIPCOT Cuddalore
11 April, 2005: The Tamilnadu State, we hear, is breathing down the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board's neck asking the regulator to clear Chemplast Sanmar's proposal to set up a 1,70,000 tonnes per annum PVC plant in Cuddalore. The plant was rejected by Cuddalore residents in 2002 at a Government-held public hearing over fears that the plant to produce toxic PVC will further degrade the already overpolluted environment. Subsequently, the company sought to locate the plant in Krishnapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. But the resident communities there took a cue from the Cuddalore residents and prevented the company from setting up.
Now, with less than a year to go for the state elections, the company has returned to Cuddalore. In 2002, the project was to have been funded by the International Finance Corporation. However, IFC cancelled the loan application in response to the community opposition to the project.
Chemplast is a known polluter; it has another PVC facility in Mettur dam, Salem District of Tamil Nadu. More than 400 irrigation wells have been abandoned by farmers, who complain that toxic waste dumping by Chemplast has contaminated the groundwater. Chemplast's Mettur dam plant stands accused of grave human rights and environmental violations. In 1996, a Greenpeace study found hexachlorobutadiene (a dioxin indicator) and high levels of mercury in the effluents from the Chemplast factory.
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