Panel seeks ban on industrial expansion near Ennore Creek

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The healthy Ennore riverbed facilitated the breeding of mud crabs. The species disappeared after the locality was contaminated with fly ash.

Seeking a moratorium on rapid industrial expansion in Ennore Creek, a three-member panel, headed by retired Madras high court judge on Monday  submitted the report to Public Works Department (PWD) and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).

The report titled, ‘Death by a thousand cuts,’ said that around 400 acres of Ennore wetland with rich biodiversity was contaminated by power stations including North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS), Vallur Thermal Power Project, and Ennore Thermal Power Station (ETPS).

Former Madras HC judge D. Hariparanthaman said that sand and earth dredge from the sea is being dumped by Kamaraj port in the sprawling water body with good mangrove cover. “It is a prohibition under Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) notification, 2011,” he added.

“Fly ash-laden from NCTPS’s storage pond at Ennore creek had reduced the river’s depth from 14 feet to less than 2 feet,” said another panel member, professor S. Janakarajan. According to the report, oil effluents from Manali Industrial area and sewage from Thiruvottriyur and Kathivakkam municipalities were  destructing the creek.

The public hearing, which was organized last month by the coalition of all Ennore fishing villages with the support from an environmental NGO, Coastal Resource Centre, unleashed many facts about the dying state of the creek.

Acknowledging the issue, a highly placed TNPCB official said the board is completely monitoring the pollution mechanism. As incessant complaints against the alarming pollution levels failed to draw response from the regulatory authorities, the aggravated community members are likely to file a petition against the government bodies at the National Green Tribunal in a month.
Speaking on the sidelines, Kattukuppam village president, M. Anandan told DC that they  are gathering the records to file a petition. “A petition will be filed against Tagnedco, Public Welfare Department (PWD), Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority and Kamaraj Port for the damages caused not just for the ecosystem but also for our livelihood,” he added. Coolant water discharge by North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) has converted the estuary into a dead zone, depriving a livelihood for the fishermen.

Original Article was published in The Deccan Chronicle here

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