PPCB issues notices to Punjab garment washing units

October 06, 2012 - India

The washing units of the sweater and garment factories in Punjab have come under the scanner of the pollution control authorities of the state for using strong chemicals in their washing that are blocking sewers and causing problems to the residents in the vicinity.
Mr. Karunesh Garg, superintending engineer at Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), told fibre2fashion, “We have sent notices to the sweater and garment washing units in Punjab who have not installed any treatment plants. These small units use certain chemicals for washing, and whenever we take samples from these small industries, they do not meet the official norms.”
“We have addressed complains where there is a stagnation near the units or discharge is made into the rivers which is causing some problems in the communities living around,” he adds.
When quizzed about the reaction of the washing units, he avers, “They argue that their method of washing is similar to washing clothes in a house in a domestic scenario. They also claim that they are very small and therefore cannot install treatment plants.  But, as per the law they cannot be exempted. They will have to take some measures to control the parameters and have proper disposal system in place.” 
“Their argument is also not acceptable because it is a commercial project and not a domestic household, where there are few clothes to be washed and the municipal corporation takes care of the effluents. In fact, it is a commercial entity which involves washing of more than 200 to 500 pieces a day and the discharges are over 5 to10 KL, so they need to have some treatment system,” he adds.
Mr. Darshan Dawar, President, Knitwear Club, however, has a different viewpoint. He says, “This is a cottage industry and it comes under the green category only. In our hosiery and knitwear industry, the garments get slightly stained during the manufacturing process, so we wash them in a way that is similar to the way we wash clothes in our houses.”
He adds that the PPCB has asked them to do zero discharge which is not possible, because even the household washing does not come under zero discharge. 
In response to the notices issued by the PPCB, Mr. Dawar says, “We are seeking help from the government against the notices sent to us by the PPCB to make the norms milder as we do not have enough space to install water treatment plants individually or in the common area, since most of the units are in colonies and residential bungalows.”
“We have written a letter to the superintending engineer at the local level, Mr. Karunesh Garg, who has expressed his support to us and advised us to write to the chairman for further help and assistance,” he reveals.
But Mr. Garg opines, “In case the garment and sweater washing units do not comply with the norms, then finally the board will have to go for the closure of these units.”