CPCB chairman moots 'zero discharge' by industries

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Nagpur, Nov 24 (UNI) Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) Chairman Jayant Mauskar has mooted the concept of 'zero discharge' by industries to prevent pollution of rivers.

''The effluents generated by industrial units will be concentred by evaporation to produce a thick slurry. The slurry can be dried to form a dry mass that can be used as fuel and burned to produce energy,'' Mr Mauskar told reporters on the sidelines of an international conference on 'Recent Trends in Environmental Impact Assessment' (RTEIA) which began here yesterday.

The combustion would create pollution, but it would be less harmful than releasing effluents into rivers, he said.

''The carbon dioxide produced by the combustion will be absorbed by trees. On the other hand, no matter how many precautions are taken, effluents released into a river ultimately find their way into drinking water. These get directly into the human body, which is extremely harmful and much worse than inhaling pollutants in the air,'' Mr Mauskar, who is also Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), said.

'Zero discharge' would eliminate the need to release effluents into rivers and to monitor the process and also avoid the disputes arising out of the practice, he said.

''We want everybody concerned, including scientists, to discuss it threadbare and come up with practical solutions,'' he said.

Zero discharge was the need of the hour as rivers have dried up and there was not enough water for the ten-fold dilution specified by rules, he said, adding it would also help industrial units earn vital carbon credits.

Earlier, inaugurating the three-day international conference on RTEIA, being hosted by the city-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Mr Mauskar said environmental concerns would have to be integrated into industrial planning. Industrialists ought to include the cost of environmental protection in their project costs, he said.

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