`Polluting industrial sites putting Delhites at health risk`

Polluting industrial sites dot the entire city and are putting Delhites at a huge health risk, said a study report Tuesday.

New Delhi: Polluting industrial sites dot the entire city and are putting Delhites at a huge health risk, said a study report Tuesday.

Eighteen sites have been identified as potential `hotspots` in Delhi that are regularly contaminating the city`s environment by releasing toxic pollutants and thereby creating health concerns, said the report titled "On the edge" which was released by Toxics Link, a environmental research and advocacy organisation states.

The sites in Delhi, which spread from Samaypur and Badli in the north to Mayapuri and Okhla in the south; and Nazafgarh in the northwest to Mandoli in east, failed on most parameters and were found to be causing unacceptable environmental impact.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) pollution is a key health determinant, and about a quarter of all diseases are caused due to prolonged exposure to environmental pollution.

The study also examined around 50 sites located near the national capital on parameters such as industrial processes, use of chemicals, discharge and emissions, disposal methods, and occupational health and safety. "Most of them were found to harbor unauthorised industrial activities and were in or close to residential areas," the report said.

As per the Master Plan Delhi (MPD) 2021, all polluting industries need to be shifted out of Delhi by 2021.
"Though a lot of efforts have been made but the problem persists. In 2011, MCD was supposed to close down around 22,000 industrial units, but not much seems to have been done," Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link said in a statement about the report.

He said that many of the hotspots were engaged in illegal operations such as lead acid battery recycling, pickling and e-waste recycling, and were found to be releasing acids, and emitting toxic fumes of lead, mercury etc.

"Units with hazardous activities like CFL processing, textile dyeing, metal works also dotted these potential hotspots in the city. Thousands of workers were employed in the units, which had no occupational safety norms or standards," he said.

The report also states that one of the potential hotspots, Prem Nagar, near Mandoli has close to 110 illegal lead acid battery recycling units. These illegal units use coal to fuel crude furnaces, said the report.

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