South India: People suffered as lawmakers played mute spectators to industrial pollution
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By Pallavi Sengupta | 10:28 AM April 20, 2017
  • Chemical pollution is one of the prime reasons behind premature deaths in the world.
  • Southern India is not lagging behind in its tragic incidences of deaths due to chemical pollution

Listing the top chemical pollution disasters that affected southern India. These could have been avoided, but for political negligence, they continue to affect common man.

The recent Mysuru industrial waste land tragedy shook Karnataka from its deep slumber. Perhaps, death is the only way to shake up the conscience of the administrators;
otherwise why would the Bellandur lake still continue to spew inflammable foam.

But the same question stands, how many more such instances would it take for the lawmakers to understand their duties toward their citizens? How many more Kollam tragedies, kodaikanal mercury poisonings, pesticide poisonings will it take for the state governments to press the alarm button?

We might not be talking about industrial tragedies in the scale of the Bhopal gas tragedy or the Mayapuri radiological tragedy, but these tragedies are no less as lives were lost and people had to compromise with their health too. These, like any other industrial disaster, could have been avoided, despite continuous insistence by the state administrators that they were unaware of the land spills or the chemical poisoning. So, here's to those who turned a blind eye to the plight of common man- a list of chemical tragedies that could have been avoided. 

The mercury pollution in Kodaikanal: The mercury contamination was caused by thermometer factory owned by Hindustan Unilever. In the year 2001, the workers started of complaining of kidney ailments when the problem came to light. Tamil Nadu Alliance Against Mercury (TNAAC) alleged that the company was not following protocols while disposing off the mercury. Multiple protests by local activists and the workers' union shut the factory, but the company insisted that there were no health hazards caused by the factory.

Metal poisoning in Kollam: Close to 300 families have been suffering from metal contamination from a factory for the past decade. The Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited in Chittoor village has brought nothing but dismay to the inhabitants. Chronic allergies, hereditary sores, cancer and skin issues are some of the issues that are being faced by the people here. While the company fails to take remedial steps, politicians too come and go as they ususally do, giving false hopes. 

Pesticide poisoning in Warangal: This has been an recurring problem in this region of South India. In fact, this region records more than 1000 pesticide poisoning cases each year and hundreds of deaths. These data have been established by WHO and other local organizations that have been fighting the usage of such corrosive pesticides for agriculture. The common symptoms of an affected person include fatigue, fever, vomiting, etc. Authorities are aware of the issue, but have turned a blind eye. Moreover, antidotes are not available sufficiently.

Coca-Cola fertilizer: Despite the company's emphasis that they do not cause industrial pollution, alarming levels of carcinogen cadmium have been found in the sludge produced by the plant in Kerala. This has percolated into the ground water reserve of the area, leading to devastating effects on the agriculture and the wellbeing of the people. Analysis of the sludge sample in UK proved that it was not only ineffective as a fertilizer, but was also the root cause of many diseases related to the kidney, mental ability and blood levels in the body. The issue died down without media or political attention.

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