nvironmental degradation is a major concern for planners and administrators, especially in big cities. The sustainable development and conservation of nature in the urban environment are burning issues today. Many people talk about it, but unfortunately very few care about it. Politicians, environmentalists and corporations pass the buck to each other, and people often get away with accusing industrialists for the deteriorating environment as they are regarded as the prime source of pollution. However, they are also regarded as indicators of development. Sustainable growth can only be achieved if the environment is protected.
There have been fair achievements in Europe and the United States with corporations playing an active role in halting environmental damage and helping to revive the ecology, but in India the lack of consumer awareness and circumvention of environmental regulations at various levels leaves much to be desired. Bypassing regulations may provide short-term benefits but in the long term it may increase the liability of the legacy that we leave behind for future generations.
The industrial garden township of Pirojshanagar was established as a harmonious combination of man, machine and nature. Thousands of trees in many varieties grow in the township. Manicured lawns and beautiful landscapes are a visual treat, so much so that visitors to the township often say they cannot believe they are in Mumbai.
The Corporate Environment Policy of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. came into existence in 1998. However, the Company’s environmental concern and actions began with the conception of the Vikhroli establishment way back in 1948, as evidenced in the planning of the Pirojshanagar industrial township. In the following paragraphs, some of the efforts initiated by Godrej — much before the authorities awakened to the problem and statutory requirements were sought to be enforced — are discussed.
In 1980 the Company conducted a legal and technical requirement survey as well as studies on water recycling from effluents. In 1986 a water audit of the industrial township was conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry. In the same year, the first Common Effluent Treatment Plant, with a capacity of 1,200 cubic metres per day, was commissioned for treating and recycling wastewater at the Vikhroli establishment. In 1987, the Electroplating Effluent Treatment Plant, with a capacity of 400 cubic metres per day for treating pretreatment effluent generated from pretreatment processes, was added.
In 1989, the first Sewage Treatment and Recycling Plant, with a capacity of 500 cubic metres per day for recycling sewage water from industrial premises, was put into effect. This was a voluntary initiative to reduce the sewage load, avoid dependence on municipal water supply and make treated wastewater available for use in landscaping the industrial township to the west of the railway line. In 1996, following the successful implementation of the first Sewage Treatment and Recycling Plant in the west, a second plant with a similar capacity of 500 cubic metres per day was set up for the area to the east.
In the pre-Policy era, the environmental performance was mainly based on the interests of top management in Godrej. There was a paradigm shift in the approach towards environmental performance after the Corporate Environment Policy came into effect, and the whole approach was focused on forming an Environment Management System. Subsequently, the EMS model of the International Standards Organisation was formally adopted for the various businesses as well as the township.
Recycling in Godrej
Wastewater can be treated and recycled for use in auxiliary applications. Given that water is an essential commodity for overall development, its reclamation, recycling and reuse must be visualised as an important option and can no longer be dismissed as a mere technological process that is too expensive or economically unviable.
At Godrej, several measures are taken to reduce the consumption of water by recycling and reusing.
Industrial Wastewater Treatment and Discharge
Domestic Sewage Treatment and Recycling
Also, due to rapid urbanisation, infiltration of rainwater into the subsoil has decreased drastically and recharging of groundwater has diminished. Rainwater is drained off into storm-water drains and hence is wasted.
This necessitates the two main techniques of rainwater harvesting, namely the storage of rainwater on the surface for immediate use and at the subsurface by recharge of groundwater for future use.
For the residential project of the Godrej Garden Enclave, the Company decided to implement a comprehensive, highly complicated rainwater harvesting scheme with the purpose of utilising this abundant natural source of water for flushing requirements of the residential buildings and recharging the groundwater through bore wells and open wells.
As per the recommendation of the Municipal Commissioner of Greater Mumbai, the plan to be implemented by the rainwater harvesting cell is as under:
The cost for implementing the rainwater harvesting system includes the diversion of rainwater down-take pipes, the construction of a pit for bore well recharge and the installation of an online filtration unit. The benefits include sustainability of the bore well for a longer duration, utilisation of less polluted rainwater for auxiliary purposes, improvement in groundwater quality by recharging due to rainwater, a cheap and relatively maintenance-free system, and no requirement of continuous monitoring or skilled manpower for operations.
Environmental factors and ecological imperatives have to be incorporated into the designing of all developmental projects giving due importance to the environmental impact they will have. All activities that may cause damage to the ecosystem will have to be carefully regulated and redesigned to minimise environmental disruption such as loss of genetic diversity, air and water pollution and other problems, which might threaten the health and well-being of our environment. Environmental planning is essential to achieve sustainable development as well as ensure a better quality of life.
The foresight and vision shown by Godrej
are a symbol of enduring ideals in a changing world.