Pollution Board Rejects Permit for Coca-Cola, Asks for Explanation on Cadmium
The Hindu
July 02, 2005

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) on Friday issued notice to the Coca-Cola's bottling plant at Plachimada in Palakkad district to explain why the `consent to operate' issued to it earlier shall not be renewed.

The PCB's main objection to the company's request for the renewal of the licence is the unexplained presence of the heavy metal, cadmium, in the sludge generated by the company and in the well water in a colony. The plant has been closed since March 9, 2004, when the High Court delivered its order in a case filed by the panchayat complaining that the plant's operations were causing depletion of the groundwater resources.

The High Court lifted the closure order on April 7, this year, after imposing certain conditions on the company on the basis of an expert committee's report on the quantum of groundwater that can be drawn by the company without causing groundwater depletion in the area. The company, however, has not been able to resume its operations till now since the `consent to operate' order issued by the PCB earlier had expired.

The PCB, in an order issued on Friday, refused to renew its `consent to operate' on the basis of the details furnished by the company in its application.

The PCB's member secretary S. D. Jayaprasad notes in the order that the company had not explained how a hazardous substance like cadmium was found to be present above the permissible limits in the sludge samples collected from the factory premises and in the water samples collected from nearby wells.

"Cadmium was found in concentrations in the range of 200 to 300 milligram per kilogram in the sludge from your effluent treatment plant. The observed concentration is much above the tolerance/permissible limit for hazardous wastes, which categorically establishes that cadmium bearing raw materials are used in the production process or effluent treatment... Your application does not contain the particulars of the source of cadmium and is therefore incomplete," the order says.

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