"Though the situation has improved in Tiruppur, contamination levels remain high when compared to other rivers of the region. Noyyal is still highly polluted and Tiruppur is more polluted than its surroundings," says the study.

The study titled 'Pollution of Surface Water in Tirupur and its Adjacent Areas by Textile Effluents' was conducted by New Delhi-based advocacy group Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)to evaluate the extent of pollution of the surface water due to textile industry.

It has found that levels of COD, chlorides, sulphates, sulphides and TDS are high in areas, such as Managalam, Andipalayam, Tiruppur main town, Kasipalayam dam, Koolipalayam reservoir, Nanjarayan pond and Chinamuthur, where dyeing units are concentrated.
"Formation of sulphide, which makes the soil infertile, has emerged as a new threat to these areas. More units need to opt for ZLD (Zero Liquid Discharge) to cause a significant dent in pollution levels," says the study. However, Tiruppur Exporters' Association (TEA) President A Sakthivel said the pollution problem caused by the dyeing units has been addressed and Tiruppur textile units have achieved zero liquid discharge (ZLD).

CSE's researcher on green rating project, Soundaram Ramanathan, said pollutants levels have reduced compared to 2005, but still if the current levels of pollutants in the River Noyyal are compared with other rivers like Cauvery in the region, the river is highly contaminated.

"Efforts must be taken to clean up the river bed," she said. Tiruppur's 6,250 textile-related industries employ thousands of people and has an annual revenue of over Rs 13,000 crore. In the 1990s, the town had no treatment plants but judicial intervention changed the scene with a large number of textile industries adopting zero liquid discharge system.

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