The lack of manpower at the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) leads to infrequent checks of industries and other polluting activities in the State.
Chekkmy Composites Ltd., a glass manufacturer has had its last inspection three months ago. The orange unit should have an inspection at least once in a year. They use harmful chemicals to color the glass and hence release toxins in the air. Meanwhile, they burn the residual waste that included molecules of chemicals in the air. Mr. Shekhar CJ, a worker at the glass manufacturing unit, said, “The inspection is not done on a frequent basis. Inspectors had come for inspection three months ago. They come once in a year or two.” Industries are classified on the basis of its pollution potential that is its size; large, medium, and small and the unit type that is red, orange, and green.
The Board has a total of 390 vacant posts for 709 sanctioned posts in the entire State. Out of these vacant posts, 208 posts are vacant for the technical and scientific staff. This staff is responsible for the inspection of industries and to check pollution levels. The Board has been under-staffed for nearly ten years.
A Senior Scientific Officer of the KSPCB said that the board does not have enough manpower to conduct regular checks. Dr. B. Nagappa, Senior Scientific Officer, said, “The board has been under-staffed for the past few years and the department has not filled the sanctioned number of posts.”
The inspecting officers are required to specialize in respect to the scientific capabilities of each kind of pollution. However, the working officers keep a check on all kinds of polluting activities in the entire State. “Our officers have to check all the polluting activities in the city whether it is air, noise or water pollution. We definitely need more manpower to keep a check on all the activities efficiently,” Mr. Nagappa, added.
An expert said that the parameters to measure the levels of pollution are different and one officer should not be appointed to check all kinds of pollution. Mr. Ulhas Kumar, an environmentalist with Eco-watch, said, “Firstly, the KSPCB should fill up the vacancies in their department. Secondly, the department must have different officers to keep a check on all kinds of pollutions. So, it is not justified to have one officer for all kinds of pollution. They should employ more officers for a place like Bengaluru which has a huge population. The inefficiency of the department definitely leads to an increase in pollution levels.”