After months of being on the run and dodging authorities, the Telangana police have finally arrested 17 persons for allegedly dumping hazardous chemical drums in open areas in Yadadri Bhongir district.
The culprits were arrested after they were identified and traced via CCTV footage. Five of the accused were working for pharmaceutical companies.
Addressing reporters, DCP Yadadri Bhongir Zone E Ramachandra Reddy from the Rachakonda police said that the accused included employees of private pharma companies from different parts of the city, who had been dumping chemical drums out in open grounds, instead of treating them at the factory.
The DCP also said that the hazardous chemical waste drums were causing an environmental problem in the villages where they were being dumped, adding that the accused were caught during a vehicle check at Wangapadu.
Stating that the accused were involved in eight cases for dumping the waste, the Times of India reported that A Narsi Reddy of Teryala village in Gundala mandal was the key person who was operating the entire racket.
"In every bulk drug company, there has to be an effluent treatment plant (ETP) for disposing of their waste. But some companies, which do not have it as it is expensive, contact people like Narsi Reddy to dispose the waste,'' ToI quoted E Ramchandra Reddy as saying.
â€śSuch companies are supposed to handover the hazardous chemical to effluent treatment plants which neutralise them. But they used to dispose the chemical drums in the open to save costs, thereby polluting the environment,â€ť the DCP added.
Employees of Vijetha Labs, Salubrious Laboratories and YagMag Labs, Pashamylaram, Viroopaksha Laboratories, Golden Streak Laboratory, and Suryakala Laboratories among others, were caught by the police.
However, such incidents are not restricted to Yadadri district, as Hyderabad is often dubbed the pharma capital of India.
In August, locals in Ammanabolu village in Telangana's Nalgonda district reportedly uncovered 13 tonnes of pharmaceutical waste, that had been dumped in a secluded spot.
That same month, officials stumbled upon 9.96 tonnes of biomedical waste at Quthbullapur.
In July, Last month, the Pollution Control Board (PCB) seized a tanker that was allegedly headed to dump toxic industrial waste into Hyderabad's Musi river.
Authorities carried out a planned operation, and intercepted the tanker at Choutuppal, along with senior PCB officials and the police, to find that it was transporting 10 to 20 kilolitres of untreated effluents.