Hyderabad’s 2,000 industries cause 8,000 annual deaths from pollution.

Over the years, activists have submitted numerous petitions, spanning from 1990 to the present, addressing the hazardous industrial pollution in Hyderabad. Despite data indicating an annual toll of 8,000 to 10,000 deaths, along with widespread health issues such as severe lung ailments, leukaemia, miscarriages, and disorders in newborns, the city remains ensnared by this ongoing menace. Hyderabad and its surroundings, including areas like Patancheru, Bollaram, Pashamylaram, Nacharam, and Jeedimetla, host over 2,000 units encompassing pharmaceutical, chemical, thermal power, biotechnology, and bulk drug industries.

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While the exact count of these units remains unconfirmed, according to the Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB), the city accommodates 300 highly polluting industries across 17 categories. Alarmingly, at least 50 of these operate without consent, disregarding emission or effluent standards, and are often situated amidst densely populated residential areas. Dr. Krishna Rao, an 82-year-old environmentalist from Patancheru, reflects on the calamity, witnessing fertile land turn infertile and water sources being polluted, leading to dire consequences such as leukaemia and deformed animal births.

Despite years of legal battles, the situation persists. Proposed solutions, such as contributing funds for a hospital, fall short for many, emphasizing the need to shut down industries near lakes and farmlands. Numerous pending pleas with authorities like the National Green Tribunal, Telangana high court, district courts, TSPCB, and the collector’s office highlight the prolonged struggle. Efforts to relocate some industrial units outside city limits are deemed temporary, with experts advocating for stringent waste management, reinforced effluent treatment plants, and technology integration to minimize waste generation.

Environmentalists stress the importance of enforcing existing regulations, such as the Water (P&CP) Act, 1974, Air (P&CP) Act, 1981, and Hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016. Advocates, like Damodar Reddy, emphasize the need for compliance and monitoring. Experts propose solutions like directing effluent water streams to existing sewage treatment plants and implementing protocols for industries, such as installing dust control measures and afforestation.

Petitions filed over the years, like one against stone crushing units in 2007, recommended measures such as sprinkling water for dust control, afforestation, road maintenance, and crèche facilities. However, these cases, including Shashikanth Reddy’s petition, remain pending, awaiting government reports and decisions from the National Green Tribunal.

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