BHUBANESWAR: As industrial and maritime activities off Paradip and Dhamra coast are all set for a boom with a slew of upcoming projects, the Odisha Government will deploy a dedicated vessel to monitor the impact of pollution on the coastal ecology.
The floating laboratory, complete with equipment for collection of data, will be a first of its kind pollution monitoring system. A specialised vessel for this purpose is being put together at Vizag.
The vessel would be harboured at Paradip Port and shuttle along the 80-km stretch from Paradip to Dhamra for surveillance and monitoring of ecological changes as a number of mega industrial projects are coming up in the region which is expected to increase multi-fold shipping activities in near future.
The vessel, with on-board monitoring system, is part of World Bank-aided Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme (ICZMP), which is assisting the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to procure the specialised vessel with in-built laboratory system.
“The pollution monitoring vessel will help carry out in-situ and onboard monitoring of coastal water. The State Pollution Control Board has prepared a monitoring protocol comprising tracking of chemical and physical change of sea water along the coast to measure biological parameters and air quality,” Ajit Kumar Pattnaik, Project Director of ICZMP, said.
As per the strategy, quarterly monitoring reports would be generated using on-board monitoring systems of the vessel, which would have a dedicated crew.
The ICZMP’s State Project Management Unit has earmarked Rs 2.5 crore for procuring the sea-worthy vessel with the in-built laboratory.
Member-Secretary of OSPCB Rajiv Kumar said the Board currently hires trawlers for monitoring as well as collecting samples periodically. “The vessel is being constructed at Vizag and we are expecting it soon,” he told this paper. Once the vessel is deployed, the Board would be able to conduct long-term monitoring, he said.
The Centre has already cleared a Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) near Paradip, which is likely to attract an investment of Rs 2,74,000 crore over 70,214 acre. Besides petrochemical industries, the region is likely to be the location for mega steel industries. Similarly, Dhamra Port is growing in its capacity with increased traffic and cargo handling.
The floating pollution monitoring system assumes importance in view of the fact that three major rivers Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baitarani meet the Bay of Bengal near the port city.
“The ecology around the place where rivers meet sea gives very valuable indicators of coastal health,” Patnaik pointed out.