Industrial Growth And Environmental Degradation: A Case Study Of Tiruppur Textile Cluster

Prakash Nelliyat
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The rapid economic growth achieved after globalization by most of the developing countries, has imposed considerable social costs and has become a major threat to sustainable development. However it is also extremely important for developing countries to achieve a high level of economic growth to mitigate their socio-economic problems. But the major challenge here is to ensure development in a sustainable manner by achieving a proper trade-off between environment and development. This paper attempts to operationalize sustainable development strategies using a case study of Tiruppur, a major textile cluster in India. The textile industrial growth in Tiruppur is discussed in the context of global diversification of textile manufacturing and trade with emphasis on employment, income and foreign exchange in regional economy perspective. Since the environmental issues of textile industries are associated with bleaching and dyeing, an inventory of all processing units was prepared for analysis include water consumption and effluent discharge. The existing pollution management efforts through IETPs and CETPs and economics of production and pollution control costs were estimated for different size of units for understanding the burden of pollution abatement. Environmental impacts of pollution were analyzed with the help of physical data on ground water, surface water and soil quality. The economic value of the damage (social cost) was estimated for different sectors like agriculture, fisheries, domestic and industrial water supply. Different economic and environmental indicators of Tiruppur industry over the period 1980-2000 and the reasons for the environmentally unsustainable industrial growth of Tiruppur are provided. The paper concludes with some policy recommendations and recent development in Tiruppur.