40 per cent sponge iron factories are polluting

Kolkata, Feb 11 (PTI) More than 40 per cent of thesponge iron factories in West Bengal violate environmentalnorms despite efforts from West Bengal Pollution Control Board(WBPCB), a study said today.

"Inspections prove that more than 40 per cent of suchfactories are violating environmental norms. Even showcauseand closure notices by the board have failed to control themenace," a report by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE),a New Delhi-based research and advocacy organisation, said.

Accepting the findings as true, chief law officer ofWBPCB Biswajit Mukherjee told PTI, "We have been makingefforts to control it, but due to social problems theimplementation has not been fully successful."

However, the problem has not limited to West Bengaland other states too have been suffering from the sameproblem, he said.

"Sponge iron industries mainly cause air pollution. Ithappens due to non-installation or non-operation of pollutioncontrol equipment," the CSE officials said after releasing thereport here today.

Ninety-two per cent of the inspection reports showabnormally high emissions from kiln and the night inspectionreports show 100 per cent of the sponge iron factoriesbypassing pollution control equipment, CSE officials said.

Mukherjee of WBPCB said they have have collected Rs 2crore as fine from the polluting factories.

"But night inspection in the factories was hit forpoor law and order situation in the three Maoist-hit districtslike West Midnapore and Bankura.

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