Panel unhappy over Kodaikanal re-mediation standards
‘Residential re-mediation standard not acceptable to site given its environment’
Members of the Local Area Environment Committee (LAEC) on Wednesday expressed their dissatisfaction over mercury re-mediation standards proposed by the Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) to clean up its thermometer factory site in Kodaikanal during a meeting called for by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).
The meeting was also attended by members of the Scientific Expert Committee (SEC), which is now overseeing the re-mediation issue, and the representatives of HUL.
According to Navroz Mody, member of the LAEC, HUL had sent a detailed reply on Tuesday to committee members on the apprehensions they had raised about the cleaning standards proposed in the HUL’s Detailed Project Report submitted to the TNPCB recently.
In the reply, HUL has defended the 20mg/kg re-mediation standard it had mentioned in the DPR, stating that it had adhered to international standards and best practices in arriving at the figures. It had also conducted a site-specific study for ascertaining the levels.
Mr. Mody told the meeting that a residential re-mediation standard was not acceptable to the Kodaikanal site given its unique environment, where exist a pristine Shola forest area.
“The factory site cannot be looked at in isolation. It is situated in an ecologically sensitive area. Mercury here, if left cleaned improperly, would contaminate water sources, which eventually reach the Vaigai dam,” he told The Hindu.
The meeting was also attended by M. Sridhar, chairman of the Kodaikanal Municiplaity who wanted the cleaning up process to be initiated as quickly as possible.
HUL had defended 20mg/kg re-mediation standard mentioned in the DPR, stating that it had adhered to international standards and best practices