PERUMBAVOOR, INDIA - Residents angered by pollution created by many of the 810 plywood plants in and around Perumbavoor plan to take to the streets Monday to seek closure of violators.

The protest is being coordinated by the Action Council for Environmental Protection, which according to The Hindu, has been battling this issue for more than two years. The ACEP is demanding the cancellation of licenses of plywood mills - many of them located in residential areas - that they claim damage the air and drinking sources creating health concerns including cancer. The ACEP said it expects 2,000 residents to participate in the newest protest.

Last month, representatives of the South Indian Plywood Manufacturers Association said they would make efforts to get plywood factory owners to clean up their plants. The association was to have met on May 16.

In an earlier statement following a protest last month, C K Abdul Majeed, general secretary of the plywood association, said, "Though the protests by certain sections of people in Perumbavoor are blown out of proportion, we agree that some of the things pointed out by them are relevant. Some of the plywood factory owners have been oblivious to the aspect of cleanliness in their factory compounds. It has serious consequences."

An environmentalist study suggested that about one-third of the 810 plywood plants do not have permits. The study also noted that approximately 10,000 acres of paddy field have been harmed by effluents from plywood plants.

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