CANACONA: Even a year after National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed PVC pipe manufacturers to print a warning about the presence of harmful chemicals, including lead, in the pipes, evniornmentalists allege that manufacturers have allegedly failed to do so and allegedly continue to market the products without the mandatory warning.
Jan Sahyog Manch a Delhi-based NGO had filed a PIL before the NGT against the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and others in 2015.
The NGO in its prayer had brought to the notice of the tribunal the large scale use of lead based heat adhesives while manufacturing PVC pipes. They observed that the lead based heat stabilizers and other additives sold to pipe manufacturers as one pack additives are cheaper compared to non-lead based admixtures. It has also been scientifically proved that lead from PVC pipes used for transporting drinking water, irrigation, sewage etc leach and get mixed with the liquid carried by the conveying system.
The NGO brought to the notice of the tribunal that the leached lead and other harmful chemicals enter the human body, vegetation, water bodies and the soil and the tests conducted by them through reputed laboratories have shown that it is in excess of prescribed limit which is causing irreversible damage to the environment together with the health of human beings.
The NGT bench after hearing both sides directed MoEF to issue general directions to the industries to publish a caveat with each product of PVC pipes containing lead, which are going to be phased out, that it contains lead which is hazardous to the health of human beings.
The NGT had on May 25 last year directed MoEF to lay down standards within four months for using lead in PVC pipes, in consultation with the Bureau of Indian Standards, after it was apprised that the water passing through such pipes which was commonly used in most buildings might contain toxic materials like lead.
Acting on the Tribunal order, MoEF directed PVC pipe manufacturers to carry a ‘warning’ sign on such pipes that “they contain lead which is harmful to health”.
The Ministry has also drawn up a programme for phasing out lead as a stabiliser in PVC pipes within six months.
This order allows manufacturers to market only lead-free pipes in the future and government will have to replace all PVC pipes channelling drinking water from water reservoirs to households if the once the ban of lead in pipes is totally implemented feel the environmentalists.
When Herald sought to know the status of the NGT order, a major pipe manufacturer said that their R&D team is conducting studies over it.
Govt claims PVC pipes procured are safe
PANJIM: PWD Executive Engineer Nivruti Parsekar said that PVC pipes procured by the department are tested and are fit for potable water.
He said, “All the parameters of the pipes are checked prior to being procured and the pipes used are lead free. Earlier we used to face issues due to AC pipes and therefore have begun discarding the AC pipelines and replacing them with PVC, which are tested and therefore there is no problem.”
Another officer in the department said that the pipes are procured from companies following all the standard procedures and the pipes are tested.