200 Coconut Saplings wither away due to contamination from Chemplast Sanmar

Mettur, 29 November 2009: On 25 November 2009, K.M.Ardhanari from Panangkadu Pudhu Colony, presented a formal complaint to the Gonur West Agriculturist's Development Union that 200 coconut saplings planted by him in his field had dried and died owing to effluents from Chemplast Sanmar contaminating his land.

K.M.Ardhanari from Panangkadu Pudhu Colony, P.N.Patti Panchayat, Mettur, planted 200 coconut saplings in July 2009 on his land of 4 acres. This land is located within 500 meters of Plant 3, the chlorochemicals division of Chemplast Sanmar. Local sources allege that the ground water in the area has been severely contaminated in the last 2 decades. Chemplast has dumped large quantities of chemical intensive effluents in unlined pits within its factory premises, which leach into the ground water thereby contaminating it. Ardhanaris land is located down gradient from the factory site. Added to that, the rocky terrain of the area causes the effluents to leach out onto the surface of land. Foreseeing the contamination, Ardhanari constructed a 5 feet wide by 5 feet deep canal in his land through which the effluent water can pass without damaging the crops. It cost Ardhanari a total of Rs.70,000 to plant the saplings and construct the canal. However, this mechanism turned out to be ineffective, as, in a period of 5 months all of saplings started to wither and die.

On 26 November 2009, the coconut saplings were inspected by the Assistant Engineer, District Environmental Office. The Assistant Engineer also took samples of water from the well and the effluent canal.

"Ardhanari's is not the only field in this area with effluent stagnation. Bakyam, whose field is 500 meters away from Ardhanaris, also downhill from Chemplast, has chemical water stagnating on the surface, ruining the quality of the land. We are filling a complaint with the Department of Agriculture seeking further investigation into matter", says Ganesh of Gonur West Agriculturist's Development Union.