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22 Mar 2021

The PSCI supports the Musi River Revitalization Initiative, Hyderabad India

Man on the River. Image credit: PSCI

A quarterly series of blog posts about responsible supply chain management from the PSCI Chair, Manjit Singh

The Musi River is a vital water source flowing through the heart of the city of Hyderabad in Telangana State, Southern India.

The world-heritage Hussain Sagar Lake, also called the “heart of the world,” feeds the Musi River and, in times gone by, was a focal point of locals and tourists alike for its beauty and recreational opportunities. Sadly, due to rapid population and industrial growth in the Hyderabad area over the past several decades, coupled with inadequate wastewater management, the Musi River watershed, and Hussain Sagar in particular, have become increasingly polluted. This has led the State of Telangana to embark on a landmark and long-term initiative to revitalize and restore the Musi River to its past glory.

India is the world’s largest bulk drug manufacturer, with many of these suppliers based in the Hyderabad region. The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) represents most of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, many of whom have Hyderabad-based supply chains, and we are therefore an important stakeholder in the Musi River watershed.

Since learning of the Musi River Revitalization Initiative in September 2019, the PSCI has engaged with the Telangana state government to discuss how PSCI members can support it. In September 2020, PSCI made a formal commitment of support.

There are many aspects to the State of Telangana’s Initiative, including better treatment of domestic sewage, improving the amenity of the Musi River bank, and controlling pollution from all of Hyderabad’s rapidly growing industries. The PSCI’s specific contribution to this Initiative is to address any pollution of Hussain Sagar caused by the discharge of inadequately treated wastewater from PSCI members’ own or supplier operations, specifically in the immediate vicinity of the two drainage canals that flow into Hussain Sagar where a number of PSCI member suppliers’ operations are situated.

All the members of the PSCI support the PSCI Principles, which are clear that “Any waste, wastewater or emissions with the potential to adversely impact human or environmental health shall be appropriately managed, controlled and treated prior to release into the environment.” This includes managing releases of pharmaceutical ingredients into the environment (PiE) and that all local discharge limits should be respected.

The PSCI has committed to use its influence on all PSCI member companies operating (directly, indirectly, or as Contract Manufacturing Organizations) in the Telangana state area to encourage them to implement best environmental practices in their operations. Furthermore, the PSCI has provided free capability building resources around wastewater treatment (webinars, conference training, and providing calculation and management tools) to improve suppliers’ practices. The PSCI wrote to a number of Hyderabad suppliers in 2020, reminding them of the Principles and inviting them to engage in our programs. Many did so.

We have identified more than 100 companies in the Hyderabad region manufacturing pharmaceutical products. Just over half of these have some relationship with the PSCI and therefore are likely to be a supplier to our members. Many of our members conduct site visits or third-party audits on their suppliers to ensure good environmental practices. Our commitment on this World Water Day (22nd March 2021) is to ensure that by this date next year every single PSCI member supplier in the Hyderabad region has been visited, audited, or contacted directly to substantiate their compliance with the PSCI Principles regarding wastewater management and obtain a verifiable record of their response. Many of our suppliers are already ‘Zero Liquid Discharge’ (ZLD) sites and we plan to identify and share this best practice with others. Our long-term aim is to have a high quality audit completed on all significant sites.

But there remain another 40 or more pharmaceutical sector-related companies with whom the PSCI and its members have no direct relationship. This is where partnership with other relevant actors is important. We will continue to work closely with the Telangana state government and are currently engaging with the Responsible Antibiotic Manufacturing Project (RAMP) to reach those companies. The PSCI is committed to sharing its wastewater management best practices and capacity-building materials with other partners to help influence the whole Hyderabad pharmaceutical industry.

Cleaning up the Musi River offers huge environmental and social benefits. It will take some years and it can’t be done without support and commitment from many different organizations. The PSCI is pleased to continue to play our part in this important project.

Manjit Singh Associate Director – Corporate Sustainability, Centrient Pharmaceuticals and Chair, PSCI

About the PSCI: The PSCI: Creating a better supply chain in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) is a group of pharmaceutical and healthcare companies who share a vision of better social, health, safety and environmental outcomes in the communities where we buy.

We believe that collectively PSCI members can share knowledge and expertise, across our industry, to drive complex, global change more effectively than any one organization alone. We have joined forces to promote responsible supply chain management and better business conditions across the industry.


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