13 October 2009
KODAIKANAL: Ponds and HLL thermometer factory former workers association in Kodaikanal and other voluntary and environmental organisations urged the government to monitor the clean up process being undertaken on the factory premises meticulously.
The appeal was made by workers and environmentalists at a special consultation meeting held here recently.
Several speakers condemned the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and NEERI, Nagpur, for keeping residents of Kodaikanal in the dark about the cleaning process. They expressed fear that the cleanup standards had been diluted to the subservient levels, which may pose harm to the public health and environment.
In a resolution passed at the meeting, the participants urged the governments to make public the project report on soil remediation submitted by the company to the TNPCB in October 2007. Tamil version of the report should be provided, it was demanded.
The proposed cleanup criteria of 20 mg/kg of soil should be revised to 0.7 mg/kg, the maximum acceptable level for mercury in sensitive ecosystems including forest and water catchments areas.
After remediation, factory site should be handed over to the Forest Department for restoration as part of Pambar Shola Nature Reserve. Local peoples committee including experts in Shola restoration should undertake restoration work.
The clean up process should be stopped till a public hearing was held and a local Citizens Oversight Committee was constituted, said L. Antonysamy, programme coordinator and secretary of Tamil Nadu Environmental Council.