PARADIP: The problem of dust pollution continues to aggravate in the Port Town, exposing its citizens to a grave health hazard. Coupled with emissions from vehicles, the dust particles form a toxic haze that hangs over the atmosphere for a long period.
Periodical monitoring of the town’s ambient air quality by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) reveals a high presence of both respirable particulate matter (RPM) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the air, often crossing the permissible limits.
Expressing concern over the situation, environmentalists said dust pollution in the town has been showing a worrying trend for the past few years. While attributing the pollution to several factors including cargo operation, they said it normally shows a rising trend during the winter as there is less rainfall to clean the atmosphere. To worsen the situation, water sprinkling is seldom done to keep the pollution under control, they added.
Locals alleged that trucks carrying soil, sand and stone without any cover have also been a major cause of the pollution. Haphazard urbanisation is another factor. Residents are suffering from asthma, pneumonia, obstructive lung diseases, bronchitis, lung cancer and lower respiratory infections due to growing dust pollution, they added.
In order to check the menace, Collector Yamini Sarangi on October 5 conducted a review meeting in presence of officials from different industries. The Collector asked the industries to start water sprinkling to keep the situation under control.
Regional Officer of OSPCB Mukesh Mahaling said, “PM10 level was above the prescribed standard of NAAQMS in most of the places. We have sought the intervention of the Member Secretary of OSPCB and the Chief Environmental Engineer to take necessary action.”
Air quality check at three places
Last week’s ambient air quality checks conducted by the OSPCB at three locations show higher presence of SPM and RPM in the air. While PM10 level was 143 against 135-148 at Dochhaki, sulfur dioxide (SO2) level was 23.4 against 17.9-28.3 and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) level was 18.4 against 12.0-22.0. Similarly, the PM10 level was 140 against 133-155 near Security Building here while SO2 registered 18.1 against 11.5-23.2 and NOx recorded 19.1 against 17.7-22.4. At Atharbanki, PM10 level was 138 against 116-170, while SO2 was 16.8 against 12.9-20.8 and NOx was 19.5 against 14.4-23.5.