Mumbai Factory Shut Down After Untreated Wastewater Turns Dogs Blue

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Mumbai
Photo credit: Hindustan Times

A Mumbai factory is being called out for contaminating a nearby water source and potentially harming animals in the area.

On Friday, officials from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) issued a closure notice to Ducol Organics Pvt Ltd., a Mumbai-based dye plant, for releasing untreated industrial wastewater and residual dye powder into the Kasadi River at Taloja, the Hindustan Times reported.

Earlier this month, residents spotted blue dogs in the area, prompting the Hindustan Times to report on the mysterious sightings. After local animal activists complained to the MPCB, the board found that a nearby company was releasing blue dyestuffs into the air and water, causing the dogs’ coats to change color.

MPCB then held an investigation at Ducol Organics Pvt Ltd. and found that the factory was not following directions under the 1974 (Water) Prevention and Control of Pollution Act and 1981 (Air) Prevention and Control of Pollution Act. Both documents require factories to efficiently monitor wastewater treatment and regulate chemical management in their neighborhoods. Following the investigation, the MPCB issued a show-cause notice on Aug. 16 and after no sustainable measures were made, issued the plant to be closed immediately.

“Ducol Organics Pvt Ltd. is harming animals and birds in the area. We cannot let such an industry function,” MPCB Navi Mumbai regional officer Anil Mohekar said. “We will ensure that the plant does not function from Monday and the decision sets an example for other polluting industries, which may not be following pollution abatement measures.”

[Read more on compliance: Locals Blockade Uniqlo Factory in Vietnam Over Pollution Concerns]

MPCB said the fur of five dogs from the area had turned blue from the pollution. Veterinarians at a nearby hospital evaluated all five dogs and admitted one of them for pathology testing. The blood report showed that the dog wasn’t infected and the blue dye was water soluble and not permanent.

Even though the dogs received treatment, animal welfare activists said shutting down the one plant wasn’t effective, since it wasn’t stopping other potential polluters in the vicinity.

“Shutting down one industry, as MPCB has done, only results in daily wage laborers losing their bread and butter. There are many other industries in the area that pose a threat to the flora, fauna and a threat of more such cases is a possibility,” said Arati Chauhan from the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection cell. “There is a need for pollution monitoring of all plants and development of adequate green cover around industrial sites.”

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