Visakhapatnam: The pollution caused by the Visakhapatnam port trust in parts of the city becomes hazardous for the residents in part of the Steel City. Cargos, including coal and iron being handled by the port are allegedly polluting air in the vicinity. According to information, the people from the old town area covering Kotaveedhi, Soldierpeta, Ganapuram areas are prone to health disorders such as skin allergies and eye disorders. It has become a field day for private hospitals in these localities, it is said. It is a common complaint that the locals are literally spending sleepless nights due to burning sensation in eyes.
The port victims have been waging a grim battle demanding safety measures from the port for quite some time. They launched a campaign by flooding petitions to the Visakhapatnam Port and the people at the helm at the Central and State governments. But relief allegedly failed to reach them. The areas are dotted with clusters of educational institutions with a large number of students helplessly inhaling the polluted air.
'In fact, several ports, including Chennai, stopped the dusty cargo operations. We want same measures to be introduced in the port also and save us from health hazards”, said an angry school teacher N Balamani. The polluting material should be stocked in sheds and vehicles laden with the same fully covered with tarpaulins to check air pollution, she insisted.According to the APPCB norms irrespirable suspended particulate matter should not cross the tolerable limits of 60 microns per metric cube, however, at several places it exceeding and some places the levels are alarming, it is complained.
A senior official from the VPT said a massive tree plantation campaign was launched to keep the air pollution under check in the vulnerable areas. The mitigation measures initiated by the trust included sprinkling of water and building high rise walls around the cargo, he told The Hans India.
The port pollution took a heavy toll on the family of Md. Farooq, one of the residents. His father was indisposed for several days because of health issues in view of pollution. Farooq recalled the proposal made by then Visakhpatnam Port Trust Chairman Ajay Kallam to shift all the inhabitants away from the vulnerable areas surrounding the port.
“The proposal was shelved for the reasons best known to the port management. It is high time the proposal needs to be revisited to relocate the colonies in a safe zone elsewhere, he demanded. KV Ramkumar, a local medical practitioner, said inhaling of polluted air might be a potential cause for incidence of chronic pulmonary disease, forcing the victims to use inhalers all along.