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India: Soil Contamination Found in Tamil Nadu Textile Center

A new study conducted by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi-based research organization, revealed sulphide formation is posing a major threat to soil fertility in Tamil Nadu’s textile center, Tiruppur. CSE’s research also confirmed that the Noyyal River, which flows through the country’s largest knitwear hub, is also highly contaminated.

“Though the situation has improved in Tiruppur, contamination levels remain high when compared to other rivers of the region,” the study revealed.

According to the Economic Times, Tiruppur is home to 6,250 textile-related facilities that employ thousands of workers, with annual revenue of over Rs 13,000 crore ($130 billion).

The study, titled, “Pollution of Surface Water in Tiruppur and its Adjacent Areas by Textile Effluents,” was conducted to evaluate the severity of the pollution of the surface water in the area caused by the textile facilities. High levels of chemical oxygen demand (COD), chlorides, sulphates, sulphides and total dissolved solids (TDS) were discovered in the areas of Managalam, Andipalayam, Tiruppur (main town), Kasipalayam dam, Koolipalayam reservoir, Nanjarayan pond and Chinamuthur, where dyeing units are located.

The study found that formation of sulphide, which makes the soil infertile, has emerged as a new threat to these areas. “More units need to opt for ZLD (Zero Liquid Discharge) to cause a significant dent in pollution levels,” the study revealed.

However, Tiruppur Exporters’ Association (TEA) president A. Sakthivel said the pollution caused by the dyeing units has been addressed and the textile facilities located in Tiruppur have achieved ZLD.

A CSE researcher, Soundaram Ramanathan added that pollutants levels have decreased since 2005, but are still high in the Noyyal River, when compared to other rivers in the area such as the Cauvery River. “Efforts must be taken to clean up the river bed,” Ramanathan stated.