Industry & Environment | Centre for Science and Environment

Industry & Environment


Press Release: How emissions-intensive are our industries?

 

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April 27, 2010

  • Can India meet the emissions target set by government for 2020?
  • What are the implications for a climate constrained future?

Not learning from Bhopal

It is 25 years of the Bhopal gas disaster—the night when chemicals spewed out of the Union Carbide factory to kill and maim thousands over generations.

About Industry & Environment Unit

CSE's Industry and Environment Unit addresses an array of environmental issues related to Indian industries. It conducts research and advocacy on the impact of industrial pollution and provides training in related issues.

Inaction discourages positive change in industry

It was in early 2008 that my colleagues at the Centre for Science and Environment had tested household paints for lead content. The issue was not new. Lead in paints had been widely indicted across the world for being a silent poison—particularly when used on walls and items that children would lick or chew.

No let-off till zero discharge

A few years ago I wrote about a textile town called Pali, in Rajasthan, which had completely toxified its seasonal river Bandi with industrial discharge. Then, I said the real story was not about pollution but the anger of farmers whose agricultural lands were destroyed because of effluents, whose well water had turned poisonous, and whose fight led the town to set up the country’s first common effluent treatment plant. The question I raised was: did we know how to clean chemical pollution in water-scarce areas?

Stink of India’s steel frame

We were standing in Sarova village, not far from Raipur, the capital of mineral rich Chhattisgarh. All around us we could see some black stuff scattered on the ground. The villagers told us that the sponge iron factory owner was giving this away as a ‘gift’ and would even transport it to their lands. They refused to say if they were being paid to dump this reject on their land. But they did whisper to me that the land on which we were standing, laden with black reject belonged to the brother of the sarpanch.

'SLAPP'ed but will not submit

In the first week of April this year, a group of men came and stood outside the Centre for Science and Environment (cse), New Delhi. They carried placards with offensive slogans directed at me. We understood the ‘protesters’ were ostensibly from an ngo we believed was a front for the pesticide industry. We also understood the picket to be the latest in a dangerous pesticide industry mindgame.

Remembering Kalinganagar - Will cheap and dirty industrialization work?

From the highway the gravestones were visible. Thirteen headstones, rough and blunt, carved with names of each dead tribal. Each stone was placed so that together they formed a semi-circle looking down at us. In front of the 13-stone platform was a fenced area with scattered burnt sticks lying as if for the picking. I realized I was looking at a cremation ground. I also realized in shock that this must have been the place where the tribals killed in police firing were consecrated to fire and that the place has been left intact as a grim reminder.

The China affair: what it means to us

A journalist recently called me to check if I thought that India had the same food-consumer product record as China. He wanted to know if we face the problems that are plaguing Chinese exports of late: tainted pet food, toxic toothpaste, lead-paint in toys, chemicals in textiles.

It got me thinking: of China and of India and more importantly, about the phenomena we call the market.

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