Toxic Hotspots: A Greenpeace Investigation of Hindustani Insecticides Ltd, Udyogmandal Industrial Estate, Kerala

Publication - 1 December, 1999

Download document

Executive summary: Hindustan Insecticides Ltd has been manufacturing pesticides at its Udyogmandal site(Kochi, Kerala) since 1956 and, according to the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers,continues to produce DDT and endosulfan. The plant, located adjacent to a wetland,apparently discharges its effluent to an open channel (the Kuzhikundam Creek).Greenpeace International visited the Udyogmandal Industrial Estate on 22nd May 1999 and collected samples of water and sediment from the creek, and of soil/sediment from the adjacent wetlands, for analysis of organic contaminants and heavy metals. The results ofthese analyses demonstrate that:-· sediment from the creek sampled 10m downstream from HIL contained more than 100 organic compounds, 39 of which were organochlorines, including DDT and its metabolites, endosulfan and several isomers of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH).· in contrast, sediment collected immediately upstream from HIL contained none of these compounds at detectable levels (and no identifiable organochlorines), strongly suggesting that discharges and/or run-off from the HIL plant have resulted in heavycontamination of the creek sediments with a range of pesticide residues and otherhazardous organochlorine chemicals.· DDT and HCH were also detectable in the water/effluent sampled downstream from HIL, indicating that production of these insecticides, and their release to the creek, is continuing.· DDT and its metabolites were also detectable in the wetlands surrounding the Udyogmandal estate. Although it cannot be ruled out that the presence of these residues might result from direct application of DDT for malaria vector control, thepresence in these samples of other chlorinated chemicals also identified in the creek(particularly chlorinated benzophenones) suggests that overspill of the creek and/orother uncontrolled discharges from the estate might be leading to more widespread contamination of the wetland.In summary, the results of this investigation strongly support the conclusion that the manufacture of DDT and other pesticides at the Hindustan Insecticides Ltd plant isongoing, and is resulting in the continued release of these and a diverse mixture of otherorganochlorine chemicals to the environment. Determination of the sources of contaminants in the surrounding wetlands demands further investigation.

Num. pages: 15

ISBN: 90-73361-62-1