A fashion for river clean-up in India

This week the Brave Blue World crew are touring India, starting in Tirupur – the country’s textile capital. We are capturing an incredible story here.

In 2011 water issues reached a critical level: you could tell what shades were in fashion from the colour of the river. The groundwater was tainted and farmers were causing salinization of the land from irrigation. As a result, the High Court of Tamil Nadu shut down 60 textile plants due to environmental concerns.

The textile plant we visited teamed up with 12 others and embarked on the long hard road to solve its water issues. They worked with advanced technologies and partnered with companies including DuPont Water Solutions to achieve zero liquid discharge to the environment.

They were pioneers, pushing the known limits of membrane technologies and challenging suppliers to go with them into uncharted territories.

Textile wastewater is one of the toughest effluents to treat yet, today they meet 90 percent of their water needs from recycled water. Salts are recovered and reused back in the dyeing process.

Groundwater table levels here are actually rising and the river runs clear; the colours of today’s fashion are no longer visible as pollution. Farmers can irrigate their crops without poisoning the land and that’s an incredible achievement.

This was a moonshot for them, now it’s a lighthouse for others to follow.

 
Paul O’Callaghan looks out at a polluted waters in Tirupur

Paul O’Callaghan looks out at a polluted waters in Tirupur

 
 
One of Tirupur’s textile plants is meeting 90 percent of its water needs from recycled water

One of Tirupur’s textile plants is meeting 90 percent of its water needs from recycled water

 
 
The Brave Blue World crew film a textile plant in Tirupur that is pushing the limits on water membrane technology

The Brave Blue World crew film a textile plant in Tirupur that is pushing the limits on water membrane technology