Pharmaceutical industry degrading soil in city

Multiple studies indicate that Hyderabad’s soil quality has been adversely affected by pollution; experts fear this, in turn, could affect groundwater

Published: 18th March 2017 05:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th March 2017 11:56 AM   |  A+A-

HYDERABAD: It is not just the quality of water and air in Hyderabad that is degrading but the soil quality too is going down due to pollution. However, one of the main culprits is the pharmaceutical industry which has a major presence in Hyderabad. Studies highlight poor quality of Hyderabad soil

A study that was conducted by collecting soil samples from four areas located close to pharmaceutical industries in Medchal, Maisammaguda(near Kompally), Bachupally and Dundigal reported that 13 fell in the ‘poor’ category of Soil Quality Index and 3 in ‘average’ category.

The soil samples were collected at different distances of 1 kmto 5 km range from pharma companies. Soil samples taken from even 5 km away were found to be of either poor or average quality that highlights the extent of pollution from these industries. Another study published last year by a faculty member from Malla Reddy Engineering College (MREC) also highlights the issue of soil pollution in Hyderabad.

For the study, soil samples from 53 locations surrounding pharma industries were tested. It was found that 43 samples fell under poor quality of SQI, which shows the pathetic condition of soils in and around Hyderabad.  

Impact of soil pollution
“Harmful contaminants from polluted soil slowly percolate the ground and pollute the groundwater as well. Various studies have already reported groundwater containing pollutants above set standards. Apart from this, soil’s fertility will also get affected which will result in vegetation getting affected impacting overall biodiversity. Pollutants from soil will also get washed away and enter water bodies contaminating them. Pollutant particles can also rise as dust and pollute the air or enter human body,” Dr V Himabindu, Head of Centre for Environment, Institute of Science and Technology, JNTU-Hyderabad says.

The MREC study highlights how pharma pollution has affected soils. It reported that when compared to older values of soils it was found that organic matter(OM) in soil reduced from 6 per cent whereas acceptable level is above 2 per cent. osphorus value reduced from 44ppm to 15ppm whereas it should be above 20ppm.

Potassium value reduced from 92ppm to 66 ppm, whereas normal acceptable range is above 80 ppm and electrical conductivity increased from 1 deciSiemens per metre (d s/m) to 22d s/m whereas normal acceptable range is less than 2d s/m.

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