Cuddalore, 11 August, 2007 — SIPCOT Cuddalore Industrial Estate remains a gas chamber, with noxious emissions peaking between 10 p.m. and 5 p.m., SIPCOT Area Community Environment Monitors confirmed after conducting five night long pollution patrols. The pollution during the most recent patrol on Saturday night (11-12 August) was the worst among the five patrols conducted by the monitors.
The pollution patrol conducted by five community monitors trained in common-sense environmental monitoring observed that “virtually all companies were releasing noxious emissions from their chimneys and other places. There was a cloud of smoke shrouding the industrial estate. The smells were intense, and symptoms like burning of eyes and skin was severe. The pollution from TANFAC was particularly unbearable, with an odour of acid and a mist-like smoke that made the eye water and the skin burn.”
The Saturday night patrol began at 9.30 a.m. from the ferry point at Semmankuppam (Thoni Thurai). With the wind blowing from the southwest to the northeast, the monitors reported a strong smell of neem cake — a characteristic odour of Arkema’s operations. Rather than patrol the estate by river, the monitors began an on-land monitoring from the Northern end of the industrial estate near Victory Chemicals. Victory was in operation. There was a strong smell of sulphur and gunpowder noticeable near the river to the northwest of the factory.
The monitors specifically observed strong odours and smoke from Victory, Tanfac, Tagros, Pondicherry Alum, Loyal, Shasun, Asian Paints, and Pioneer. They reported a mild ammonia-like odour downwind of HEF company. GSR Chemicals did not seem to be in operation, they said.
Pollution patrol reports have been conveyed to the Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board.