Vapi gets more toxic, tops India’s list

Vapi has overtaken Ankleshwar to become the most polluted industrial cluster in India even as three industrial clusters surrounding Ahmedabad — Naroda, Odhav and Vatva — have become more polluted since 2009, according to the Central Pollution Control Board's (CPCB) interim assessment of Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) 2011, released late last week.

Meanwhile, industrial clusters at Ankleshwar, Bhavnagar and Junagadh have reduced their pollution levels even though some remain high in a list of 43 "critically polluted" industrial clusters.

The CPCB first used the IIT-Delhi designed CEPI in 2009, which takes into account levels of air, water and land pollution in areas in and around industrial clusters.

At that time, Ankleshwar, with a CEPI of 88.50, was found to be the country's most polluted industrial cluster, followed closely by Vapi (CEPI 88.09).

Vapi, at CEPI 90.75, has now become even more polluted than what Ankleshwar used to be and is also India's most polluted cluster. Ankleshwar has become India's seventh most polluted cluster.

Ironically, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had, in September last year, removed a moratorium on new units and expansion of old ones in Vapi. It had, however, extended a similar moratorium on Ankleshwar.

In a worry for residents of Gujarat's commercial capital, Ahmedabad, pollution levels at GIDC estates in Naroda and Odhav (joint CEPI 78.09) and Vatva (87.46) have increased. Vatva is now more polluted than Ankleshwar, in fact.

The CPCB, however, said the interim assessment is based on a first round of monitoring carried out jointly by it and state pollution control boards.

"The calculation of CEPI is a dynamic process. Therefore, the final assessment of CEPI will be done after implementation of long term action plans," the board said.

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