Tirupur (Tamil Nadu) [India]Tirupur’s rise to prominence as a sustainable global apparel-making center has been a landmark.
Today, Tirupur, a knitwear cluster in southern India, has emerged as a transformed global hub for apparel manufacturing.
From hosting one of the most polluting textile value chain till a few years back (which had evoked massive protests by local farmers and other communities; followed by Madras High Court order directing closure of 750-odd dyeing and bleaching units in this cluster for not complying with the State Pollution Control Board’s zero-liquid discharge (ZLD norms), Tirupur is currently a completely ‘Zero Liquid Discharge’ garment cluster where water used by its dyeing and processing units are treated at common affluent treatment plants and reused.
This allows the cluster to not only use significantly less water but also avoids releasing any dangerous water.
Tirupur Cluster has emerged as a sustainable sourcing destination in knitwear. The Rs 60,000-crore company which exports half its production to the global markets currently has 300 dyeing units. It is attached with 18 Common Effluent Treatment Plants, (CETPs), and 60 dyeing units that have their own Individual Effluent Treatment Plants, (IETPs).
Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) has been implemented by the Tirupur CETPs and IETPs. This is the first global implementation of this concept. 18 CETPs recycle 100 MLD water every day, and 60 IETPs recycle 20 MLD water each day. The effluent can be treated to recover 94% of water. This water is then re-sent to processing, with the remaining 6 percent being used as salt solution or salt for reuse.
“We as a cluster have shown a great degree of resilience and perseverance to reach where we are today. Tirupur is now a green hub that makes use of most resources in a sustainable manner. We are proud to have made this happen. The initial years were difficult because these dyeing plants were not in a position comply with ZLD requirements. But we have managed to overcome all our challenges to set up one of the most sustainable circular fashion supply chains,” says K M Subramanian, President, Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA) and managing director of Rs 750 crore KM Knitwear, which exports 50 per cent of its knitwear production to the global market.
“For the last 10 years, we have been strictly pursuing our ZLD model and along the way we have also taken up multiple projects which are aimed at reducing our carbon footprint significantly. As a green cluster, we have gone much ahead,” says A Sakthivel, President, Federation of Indian Export Organizations; chairman, Apparel Export Promotion Council and founding president of TEA.
Kumar Duraiswamy (TEA joint secretary) stated that the toxic effluents resulting from the processing of fabrics were depleting ground water levels before the implementation of ZLD. The treated water has since been completely eliminated and can be reused for the future processing of Fabrics.
“Our efforts have paid off. We are also doing many things to positively impact the environment and surrounding areas, apart from ZLD’s successful implementation. In fact, we have set a precedent that others can also emulate and help build a more sustainable ecosystem for the industry,” states N. Thirukkumaran. General Secretary, TEA.
“Tirupur as a knitwear hub has come a long way. This cluster has become a real sustainable garment manufacturing hub thanks to the contributions of every stakeholder. We will continue to carry on with our endeavour to take this success story to the next level,” says Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of Tirupur-based, Royal Classic Mills. The Rs 750-crore company, which is led by Classic Polo, boasts the largest IETP in Tirupur.
Apart from ZLD implementation, Tirupur units also installed solar power plants and wind generators. This produces 1,600 KVA per hour, while the industry consumes only 250 KVA.
Furthermore, the total power consumption in Tirupur district amounts to 650 KVA. Therefore, Tamil Nadu Power Grid distributes the green power that is produced.
In another significant initiative called `Vanathukul Tirupur’, a mass tree plantation drive has been carried out by an NGO called VETRY. VETRY has been supported by Tirupur garment unit and has so far planted 15 lakh saplings in the last eight years.
The cluster is a major participant in rainwater harvesting. Many factories are now self-sufficient in water consumption because of the large amount of rainwater that has been harvested over the years.
Arbind Gupta (a well-known journalist) wrote the article. (ANI)
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