More than 600 dyeing and printing units in the small Indian town of Pali, in Rajasthan state, face closure over water pollution concerns.

It is estimated that 34m litres per day of industrial emissions being discharged from four water treatment plants into the nearby Bandi River.

In early March, India's National Green Tribunal ordered a suspension of work in units that did not have a 'consent to operate' document issued by the state authorities; 90% of the units did not have the approval.

According to Mangi Lal Gandhi, ex-president of the Rajasthan Textile Hand Processors Association, the reason was bureaucratic delays by the state pollution department.

Units remained closed for about three weeks before being allowed to resume operations temporarily. The tribunal will hear the units' cases again on 10 July.

Gandhi claimed the industry was clean: "We release only the treated water in the river," he told just-style.

But there are also concerns about the abstraction of water by the local industry. According to Mahaveer Singh Sukarlai, convener of Sri Kisan Paryavaran Sangharsh Samiti, a local environmental group that approached the tribunal, the industry draws 50m litres of groundwater daily, which is lowering the water table.

He is demanding that zero discharge systems be installed. "The recycling of water would also ensure long term availability of water for the industry in this desert state," he told just-style.

However, Gandhi argues that the river's reduced river flow was largely caused by upstream dams. And fitting recycling systems would cost the units dear: US$50m according to Sukarlai.