In July this year, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had passed a closure order to a private company’s Bangalore unit which manufactures 13,000 tonnes of electrodes a year, citing air pollution as the reason.
However, it has been a few weeks since the company resumed its regular business and the residents in the vicinity have started feeling the heat once again.
Staff of a multi-specialty clinic, Seetharampalya residents and shopkeepers near the factory are among a few people who have to bear the brunt of the black soot emanating from the factory.
As per the directions of KSPCB, the factory has increased the height of the wind barriers with nylon wind barrier net from 20 feet to 40 feet.
However, they have not complied with the instructions of the board which had asked the factory to purchase air-borne dust suppression system using water mist technology.
This is more effective than the sprinkler system as the water droplet size is 20 to 50 microns which is equivalent to the size of dust particles.
They combine together and settle down faster.
Bhanu, who works as the administrator of a multispecialty clinic in the vicinity says, “We have started getting skin allergies, apart from skin irritation.
” Voicing a similar opinion, the security guard of the clinic, Halimuddin says, “We have been suffering from throat infection and cough for over a year now.
” On the other hand, Ashwathmma, a sweeper in the clinic says, “I have to wipe the floor several times as the black soot accumulates on the floor all the time.
Also, the electric pipes, they are clogged with a thick layer of soot.
” Sriram Kuchimanchi, a resident of Whitefield fumed over the lackadaisical attitude of the BBMP and their unplanned administration.
“If you keep a glass of milk or curd for an hour, one can clearly notice a black layer above it.
But, one needs to keep in mind that these factories were here long before urbanisation took over in this locality.
The BBMP should have been responsible enough before giving permission for construction of buildings and houses here,” he says.
Apart from the multispecialty hospital, there are other shops and restaurants which have been affected by the continuous emanation of black soot from the industrial plant.
“The day I have work in this part of the city, I make sure I shower twice,” said Rohini, who had come to a restaurant in the area.
She added, “There is a school on the other side of the company and children are at the receiving end too.
” The analysis report carried out by the KSPCB revealed that the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) concentration is slightly on the higher side at two locations.
The high concentration of RSPM may be attributed to heavy traffic in the area and continuous movement of vehicles in the area will not allow particles to settle down and keeps the particles under suspension condition which also carries them from one place to the other.
In addition to the above issues, the analysis reports of ambient air quality monitored reveals that the particulate matter concentration was more between 6 am and 2 pm, and still higher during the period between 2 pm and 10 pm and comparatively less from 10 pm to 6 am.
The condition deteriorates from October to March towards the eastern side and other months towards western side due to wind direction.
Utkala who stays right behind the company and also works in the multi-specialty clinic says, “We have been suffering from breathing problems, constant allergies, and dry cough.
Although there are medical solutions available, the continuous pollution adds to the problems every time.
Moreover, the patients who come here for treatment are more susceptible to it.
Our children have developed wheezing problems.
” KSPCB chairperson Sadashivaiah informed City Express that the private company had got a stay order from the Appellate Authority to resume the works.
“Hence I am helpless now,” he lamented.
When contacted by City Express, the officials of the company refused to comment.