Express press service
TIRUPPUR: Water pollution has always been attributed to the dyeing industries. But garment printing units also contribute significantly by leaking untreated effluent into the sewage system. The issue is now front and center as the sector recovers from the economic crisis caused by Covid-19.
Tamil Nadu Science Forum (Executive Member) An Eswaran told TNIE, “A large number of screen printing units are in the city of Tiruppur and most of them are discharging effluent into sewers. units have recycling plants, medium and small units do not.Several units are located in residential areas like Samundipuram, KVR Nagar, Moscow Nagar which are densely populated.He added that despite complaints , the units do not stop the practice. Although the discharge is not in large volume, there should be a system to treat the effluent and preserve the environment, he noted.
A printing unit owner said, “Printing on garments is an important value-added process. There are many types of garment printing units that use many types of printing techniques: placement printing, all-over printing, digital printing, heat sealing printing, etc. , the placement printing technique and integral printing involve the use of chemicals. These are added to the screen which emboss the pattern or color pattern onto the garment. During the printing process, these screens are cleaned to apply a new color using water. But, after cleaning the residue, the water in the screen contains chemicals.”
If the printing unit has an Effluent Treatment Station (ETP) or recycling stations, the water is purified and recycled. Otherwise, it is discharged from the facility that pollutes neighborhoods or water bodies, he pointed out.
Tiruppur Export Knit Printers Association (TEKPA) Chairman, TR Srikant said, “There are over 700 printing units in the district and we have asked all units to follow recycling procedures and install small effluent treatment units on their premises. Printing chemicals are not very dangerous. Some chemicals used for printing are prescribed by export companies for export. During the lockdown period, many printing units did not receive payment from the garment units and they had serious financial problems. For this reason, they had no effluent treatment plans and license renewal process in place. Following this, closure notices were issued during an inspection by Pollution Control Commission officers.
When contacted, an official from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) said the board in 2021 issued a closure notice to 40 units in the district for violating standards. “We have received complaints from several residents and upon inspection, issued closure notices to over 40 units in 2021. These small-scale units with less than `1 crore turnover per year have no recycling plants. During the inspection, many also did not have licenses. We issued a warning to them. We also planned to carry out awareness campaigns for the establishment of recycling plants in these units.