A rural area now afflicted by pollution
For years, due to cost cutting, untreated chemical waste from two local paper mills was pumped directly into the river Aril, covering it in froth and polluting the water which became black and acidic. Then it seeped into fields, ruining the crops. Farmers have never been compensated.
Mill owners dumped live ash on the roadside where cyclists and pedestrians walked or rode through what they assumed were cold ashes. Many villagers suffered serious burns. On the banks of the river and by national highway 93, tons of ash are piled high, coating buildings and plants in a black dust, harming passersby as well as residents. As a result of breathing such heavily polluted air, respiratory problems amongst local people are very high. In the worst affected areas, as many as 1 in 2 people suffer from asthma.
The stench of chemical effluents has polluted the air of the surrounding villages and black dust from the factory chimney blows far and wide. The water table has dropped dramatically as the factory uses huge amounts of water and all the roadside ponds have dried up. The underground water supply has also been polluted, causing a rise in the number of people suffering from jaundice and villagers are forced to pay for ever-deeper borings to ensure a clean water supply. For further details use this link.
Protests to the regional office of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board have so far been fruitless. Inspections had been conducted but they were token gestures. The factory had always been warned in advance about the inspections, giving them the opportunity to turn on the effluent treatment plant. The testing of the river water was done away from the main pipe and none of the inspections have ever made reference to the piles of ash surrounding the land outside the factory.
Local government officials have been ignoring the pleas of their citizens, to serve the interests of rich industrialists.
The Amarpurkashi Project has been active in staging a Protest against Pollution. There have been rallies and demonstrations, sit-in protests, meetings with government officials and appeals to the factory owners and enlisted help from abroad but so far to no avail.