Between common salt and the Ozone Hole

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What would you say of an industry that takes common salt and turns it into one of the most environmentally deadly substances we know of today, namely chlorine? And what if in its production process it uses yet another deadly substance, mercury? We are talking about India's caustic-chlorine industry. Centre for Science and Environment's (cse) Green Rating Project has recently completed the environmental rating of this sector's life cycle.

Fascinating journey it was. Green rating, as cse practices it, is a great teacher of detail and substance. It took us over one year to understand the sector. During this period, we took it apart from skin to bones to its entrails and then worked carefully to see what would be the best way to put it together again. Something like virtual reengineering for a green industry.

When we began the exercise, the caustic-chlorine sector sounded very dull. It had none of the environmental tragedies of the paper sector or the glamour-horror of the automobile sector