Suspected mercaptan emissions from industrial estates making life miserable for residents

Dawn and dusk are not the same anymore ever since pollution came to haunt the residents of Miyapur and its vicinities for the last one year.

At frequent intervals pungent odour, suspected to be dangerous mercaptan emissions from nearby industrial estates, is making lives miserable sending residents scurrying for cover behind closed doors.

It sweeps through the colonies, suffocating the residents -- leaving behind a trail of headache, nausea and worries. A deeply worried senior citizen, M. Panduranga Rao, says, “The odour is unbearable and chokes us. We rush indoors and shut ourselves”.

People living in the areas of Madinaguda, Miyapur, Nizampet, Pragathinagar, Bachupally and surroundings say that the ‘strong and intolerable’ odour lasts for an hour or more in some instances. “Every few days, the smell comes either in morning or evening and at times, is accompanied by a haze,” says T. Pritam, an entrepreneur.

Hyderabad is not new to complaints of such foul odour and suspicions of mercaptan emissions from industries. Following an outcry over the menace and its possible health impacts, the A.P. Pollution Control Board (APPCB) in 2004 launched extensive inspection of all the industrial estates. It claimed to have narrowed down the source to Khazipally in Medak district and imposed restrictions on some units.

After a lull, the problem seems to have resurfaced at Miyapur.

Sharmishta Roy, a software professional, puts the menace in nutshell, “we are unable to breathe freely here”. The increasing complaints of respiratory problem among children in apartments here, she fears is due to the impact of the odour.

“Every third or fourth child here including my son has breathing issues,” says Arun, another IT professional, adding “I am worried about the long term effects of the odour on them”. The elderly are the next group to be hit hard and a senior citizen, P. Lakshmikanth laments, “We are unable to bear the odour any more”. From Maytas Colony on one side of Miyapur to My Home Jewel apartments on another, residents facing the pollution onslaught talk of their vain efforts at chasing the APPCB for succour.

“We personally met the senior officials and poured out our woes. But nothing happened so far. We are waiting for some action and results,” says Mr. Rao.

The PCB’s task force collected some samples but nothing has been heard from them afterwards.

The APPCB Member Secretary, M. Ravi Chandra, says that complaints were received from the residents and the area was being monitored. “Our special task force personnel keep a watch and collect samples for analysis. At times, the odour problem is of such low intensity that it could not be traced for tests”, he adds.

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