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May 11, 2009 / zanzi

Day Six

Day Six, Saturday the 9th of May, was a sort of half-day, and the first time we split into two groups on field trips. This post covers the experiences of the group that visited the GTZ eco-industrial parks. This includes most of the climate change and urban sustainability working group members.

The two parks we were concerned with are Industrial Park (IP) Nacharam and IP Mallapur, spanning 280 hectares and 87 ha respectively. These are pilot projects of GTZ and APIIC (Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation). The Environment Protection Cell (EPC) is one of three functional components within each of these IPs. The other two are the infrastructure management cell and the finance and administration cell. Indwa Technologies Pvt. Ltd. has been given a private contract to manage the EMC.

Of the many officials contacted by GTZ, one high-up made an enthusiastic appearance, and acquainted us with the facts. The number of industrial units with legal approval within the two IPs is 601, whereas the actual number in operation is 681. Details about production, waste and water generation and disposal are available for considerably less of these units, and are often not required below a specified plant size. 69 environment-sensitive units are authorized by the Pollution Control Board (PCB), though the EMC has identified 83 within the orange/red classification (needing permission).

Waste water treatment is done using two effluent treatment plants as per CFO requirements. Municipal waste is disposed of in roadside bins, from where clearance happens on a contract basis. Hazardous waste is partly taken care of using a toxic sewage disposal facility and partly through illegal dumping, as the EMC has documented.

A gradual decrease in the total dissolved solids (TDS) in air and water has been observed since these operations began less than two years ago. This has been monitored using five observation points within each IP, as well as a set of five in Raj Cheruvu, the nearby lake. An 8 MLD (million litres a day) capacity effluent treatment plant has been proposed, and the first 2 MLD pilot for this is under construction very close by Raj Cheruvu. We visited this, unlike the other group that went to ICRISAT and saw three presentations without any chance of field visits.

This Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) comes under Eco-Profit, or ECOlogical PROject For Integrated environmental Technology. Within its scope, the two IPs use Nalla Cheruvu for disposal of low total dissolved solids (LTDS) but require treatment of HTDS (heavy) prior to disposal. The CETP makes effluents undergo treatment at three levels: a primary physical process for oil and grease removal using a screen and brick chamber, secondary treatment using a flash mixer and flocculation for liquid-solid separation, providing aeration and increased surface area for biological action, and tertiary treatment using a pressured sand filter and activated carbon.

EMC offers a variety of services: environmental quality monitoring, developing and maintaining a data bank of industrial activity, current initiation of emergency preparedness, environment infrastructure management, training and support services to industries, including help on application procedures for approval purposes. The finance and administration cell takes care of taxation, information, data bank management and estate management and planning coordination, while the infrastructure management cell handles roads, electricity, water and security.

Interesting points that emerged include the lack of government schemes incentivizing instalment of environmental protection measures, except some stray examples in street lighting and solar energy applications. No guidelines are in place from the PCB, only the extreme measure of shutting down units by cutting off power supply due to violations (this sort of notice more often than not gets a stay order in court). This is a black-and-white approach when a grey solution is needed to establish a workable dynamic we can move ahead with. In this regard, a GTZ initiative is ‘Climate Proof’, which audits all GTZ projects in order to ensure integration with all climate safeguards.

The final point to emerge was the emphasized need for an interface with universities to address complex interrelated environmental concerns through not only laboratory consulting and environmental impact assessment (EIA) assignment but also by building student capacity, such as having interns from JNTU working with the EMC.

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