It was during a chance visit to Coimbatore two years ago, Israel’s renowned water expert Dr Yoram Oren heard of the slow but steady death of the region’s mighty rivers Noyyal and Bhavani due to the large scale discharge of toxic effluents by dyeing units along the river shores. He was in the city to address a water management conference in his capacity as an expert on desalination and reverse osmosis. After two more visits to the city and the setting up of a unique electro chemical water lab at Karunya University, Oren decided to devote his time and effort towards the revival of the two rivers by participating in an ongoing research to achieve zero discharge from dyeing units. The high court order closing down polluting dyeing units also prompted Oran to stay back and help find a solution.
It has been a year since Oren began his research work on the separation of textile dyes by means of nano-filtering. Oren believes that nano-filtration membrane separation is an effective way to ensure zero discharge from dyeing units. “I have completed more than half my research work. My team comprising water experts from leading institutions in South India find nano-filtration to be the most suitable option when compared to other methods including desalination and reverse osmosis. It is also cost effective and the filtered water can be recycled or released into the river without causing any harm,” he said. Hailing from Ben-Gurion University in Israel, Oren would soon submit his findings to Union Ministry of Science and Technology and the state government.
“Nano-filtration is a proven success in Israel. Here also it is possible to make dry cubes of separated effluents which can be disposed off in safe places. It is up to the government to ensure such a facility to dispose off the dry wastes. In Israel, the government has demarcated the dump yard and this has helped restore several water bodies,” he said.
Both the rivers remain contaminated despite court intervention. It is a matter of concern that many illegal dying units in Tirupur were shifted to the banks of Bhavani, he said. I come from a country known for effective preservation of its very limited water resources. When compared to Israel, India has adequate water but lacks the resolve to protect its natural resources. Ground water depletion is quite alarming,” he said.
“Indian laws are the best, if implemented properly, to prevent water contamination and industrial pollution. But the authorities must have the courage to implement it as in the case of Tirupur. A few European countries have succeeded in preventing industrial units from polluting water bodies by permitting them to discharge only treated water. Countries like India must be more vigilant in allowing industrial units from water bodies,” says Yoram.
He said that Tamil Nadu had more arid and semi-arid zones when compared to other southern states. Protection of water bodies in such areas along with rainwater harvesting can help meet drinking water needs. “The state needs to be more serious about water conservation,” he said.
Source: TIMES OF INDIA