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  project name ~ Community Environmental Monitoring 2011

category ~ Community Empowerment




  Project Name


Community Environmental Monitoring 2011



The Other Media



Community Empowerment






Tamil Nadu

  Budget Approved


$ 110000


  Year Approved







  Chapter Coordinators


Ramachandran Balachandran
Gayathri Natarajan
Bhargavi Srivatsan


Bay Area









This project aims to bring people from pollution affected communities come together as an organized voice against pollution. It enables those communities to monitor, document and communicate pollution and its impacts on health and the environment in a language that regulators and industry can not ignore.





Over the years, this project has witnessed several successes. The SIPCOT industrial estate in Cuddalore is the only industrial site to have comprehensive and accurate record of every pollution-related incident. Through regular pollution patrols and by reporting instances of pollution, the SIPCOT monitors have acted as the watchdog of industries. CEM monitors have conducted joint patrols with members of the TNPCB which included patrols with the District Environmental Engineer and Assistant Environment Engineer. In several instances, TNPCB has taken actions against errant companies based on the reports of the CEM monitors. CEM has published various reports on the status of environmental pollution and this has put pressure on the government to initiate its own study on this issue. For instance, the TNPCB commissioned NEERI to undertake a study of the status of pollution in Cuddalore. NEERI study confirmed decades old complaints by the local community of the pollution problem. NEERI study specifically said that people living in the SIPCOT region are 2000 times more likely than the average population to be affected by cancer. Also number of conditions have been added to the consent to operate and consent to establish licences given out to industries based on CEMís work. The new conditions include regular VOC monitoring by the units, an epidemiological health study of the communities around the units, and comprehensive study of groundwater in SIPCOT. Another significant milestone for CEM is that it has been invited by the district administration to train senior local officials and senior police officials o environmental laws and areas they can make interventions to strengthen local monitoring.





* To research, test and deploy simple and inexpensive tools in communities to allow them to monitor their own environment. * To equip community members with skills on documentation of pollution and air and water sampling. * To equip community members to publish and use the results of the analyses to strengthen the campaign against pollution.



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