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Millennium Post

Untreated industrial waste sets cancer on prowl

Despite the government giving a big push to the cleanliness drive, a few kilometres away from the national capital polluted rivers are threatening the lives of residents. Poorly monitored industrial units on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh borders are becoming source of painful deaths with reports of people dying of cancer everyday due to improper disposal of carcinogenic remains.

Statistics reveal that on an average one person dies each day of cancer due to ‘complacent’ administration, which has failed to come out with a proper plan for solid waste management.

As per the reports based on physical surveys made by several NGOs, local bodies and government agencies, over 200 villages of industrial belts of the districts Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Baghpat, Bulandshahr and Meerut are witnessing abnormally high number of cancer cases for the past five years with more than 1,500 deaths during the period. The surveys reveal that various types of cancer and other diseases have killed scores of innocent people while 100 to 200 patients have surfaced in each village. It has also been claimed that lives of more than 10 lakh people, living in these belts, are at risk as they are affected directly or indirectly with deadly diseases.

A report discloses that the worst affected is Hapur district where nearly 70 villages, located along two drains are in grip of the life threatening disease. The next affected district is Gautam Budh Nagar with four pockets in Chhapraula industrial belt, Phase-II industrial belt, Bill Akbarpur area and Dankaur region. The affected areas in Ghaziabad are Loni industrial area and Sahibabad Industrial belt. At least one pocket each consisting 20 to 30 villages have been identified in Meerut, Baghpat and Bulandshahr districts with hundreds of cancer patients.

‘As two drains between Simbhaoli and Puth and Mawana (Meerut) and Babugarh carry huge industrial waste before merging with Kali and Ganga rivers, it contaminates ground water of more than 100-square kilometre area. Due to mix of toxics, drinking water has become light yellow and grey in these areas,’ said Krishankant Singh, a social activist, active in the region. Notably, state water department and pollution control department have also accepted that water pollution was the main cause of rising cancer in the area.

The environmental activists, associated with these NGOs, claim that groundwater contamination over the years is widely assumed as the key culprit. They blame that lack of facility of Effluent treatment Plant (ETP) in industrial units, discharge of untreated water in ground through reverse bore technique, in rivers and in open areas as well as use of contaminated water in farming were the major cause for spreading cancerous diseases.

Investigations by the state’s health, pollution control and other departments are on, but for now, the authorities and villagers are clueless about what they should do to tackle the situation.

‘Majority of the industrial units, in order to reduce the additional financial burden, have not installed ETP and are discharging liquid waste directly. The units involved in brazen violation of norms are sugar mills, paper and pulse, glass units, dying units, rice mills, spare parts, and others types of units too,’ said Aruna Vashistha, vice-president of Society for Protection of Environment and Biodiversity, an NGO which has identified three such belts in Ghaziabad district alone. (To be Concluded)

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