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Indian govt unveils 'ZLD' norms for textile sector
03
Dec '15
The textile industry has been one of biggest polluters in the country. Now, the Central Government has decided to crack the whip. According to media reports, a draft notification of the Government has directed the textile industry to strictly follow Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) norms. ZLD essentially means that a factory should recycle all its effluents and not release even a drop into any water body.

According to the guidelines, all textile units including dyeing units, cotton or wool processing units and integrated factories generating over 25 kilo litre of effluents daily must install Zero Liquid Discharge effluent treatment plants.

The notification is being seen as a first serious step towards cleaning the pollutants that has been discharged into the water bodies by the textile units over the period of time.

The Indian textile industry is a heavy polluter, and some factories in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu in 2011 were closed down by court orders and in Rajasthan this year.

Gujarat's Vapi Industrial area that comprised 22 textile units, for example, had gravely polluted and destructed the ecosystem of the area, before it was shut down in 2011.

The pollution is mainly caused by untreated or partially-treated effluents released from the units into streams, rivers, oceans. It pollutes water bodies of the area and also contaminates the aquifers.

The implications of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) norms, if implemented, will hamper the growth of textile industry. A scrutiny of the notification reveals that it could do more harm than good, to both the industry and the environment.

Several clauses in the draft policy can potentially wipe out the textile industry. While the draft policy is meant to force the textile industry to clean up its act, the “Zero Liquid Discharge” implies a complete stop to the release of any pollutants. But it has been observed that even when effluents are treated in a ZLD plant, sludge remains and has to be dumped.

Secondly, according to an estimate, a textile unit that generates 100 tonnes of effluents will end up generating 500 tonnes of effluents if they reduce the Chemical Oxygen Demand to 200mg/litre. This will create the problem of dumping the sludge.

Chemical Oxygen Demand or COD test is commonly used to indirectly measure the amount of organic compounds in water.

The ZLD system is not very cost effective either. Several small and medium scale industries cannot afford it even if they go for a common facility. This might force them to close down. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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