Mettur-Cuddalore Anti-PVC Factory March Committee
C/o H19/4 Gangai Street, Kalakshetra Colony, Chennai 600 090
Cuddalore, 13th September 2005: A delegation of youth, men and women from villages suffering the pollution of Chemplast Sanmar’s PVC plant in Mettur spent two days touring SIPCOT Cuddalore to spread awareness among the local residents about the impacts of PVC on the environment and health. Chemplast Sanmar is attempting to locate a controversial 140,000-tonne PVC factory in Semmankuppam panchayat despite being rejected by SIPCOT residents in 2002 during a Government-held public hearing. Incidentally, a 1997 Semmankuppam Panchayat Resolution clearly prohibits the setting up of polluting or water-intensive industries. Subsequently, Chemplast tried to set up the factory in Krishnapatnam, Andhrapradesh, but was unable to because of massive public opposition.
The Mettur team along with SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors (SACEM) met residents of various villages in SIPCOT including the Panchayat presidents, council members, self help groups, and youth groups. “We’re victims of Chemplast’s pollution. Our agriculture is dead; our wells poisoned and our children are sick because of Chemplast. We know from experience that every step of PVC production is fraught with hazards, and want to prevent others from suffering the way we have. That is why we are in Cuddalore to tell the people to beware of PVC and Chemplast,” the West Konur Farmers Welfare Association said.
In July 2003, of the Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment & Human Rights (IPT) declared that “Chemplast Sanmar . . .have caused irreparable damage to humans and the environment.” The IPT chairman Justice (Retd) Akbar Kadri of the Madras High Court said the Tribunal “was convinced that there is a serious problem with the way that Chemplast . . .are handling highly hazardous processes and their by-products.” The panel found Chemplast guilty of human rights violations and of discharging toxic effluents into the River Kaveri.
The proposed Cuddalore plant will use 120,000 litres of water every hour. Vinyl Chloride Monomer, the raw material to be used for manufacturing PVC, is a human carcinogen and an explosive substance. The proposed site for Chemplast’s plant is adjacent to another explosives factory that manufactures rocket fuel. Both factories are within 200 metres of human habitation.
On 3 September, a team from Mettur was to have launched a 285 km anti-PVC march to Cuddalore. But these plans were frustrated by police who refused to give permission to any march protesting against Chemplast. Mettur residents have reapplied for permissions and are prepared to go to court to secure it. The march from Mettur to Cuddalore will rally residents en route in support of a call to prevent Chemplast Sanmar from setting up the dangerous PVC factory in SIPCOT Cuddalore and would also focus on spreading awareness of the impacts the poison plastic.
The Mettur delegation consisted of farmers and residents belonging to or supportive of the campaign against Chemplast’s pollution led by West Konur Farmers Welfare Association and Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam. On 7 September, GAIA, a network of more than 500 public interest organisations from 71 countries, conveyed its solidarity to the Mettur campaign.
Mettur delegation: Mr. Madeshwaran. Tel: 9443565476
Cuddalore contact: 04142 230978