Even as many are expressing serious concern over increase in industrial pollutants in the city, a noted environmentalist said that inhaling of coal dust will cause black lung disease – generally experienced by workers in the coalfields.

E.U.B. Reddy, a professor in environmental sciences in Andhra University told The Hindu that the loading and unloading of coal powder and stacking it in open area in the Visakhapatnam Harbour affects the lungs creating sacks of coal dust. “This causes respiratory problems, enhances chances of asthma, rhinitis, eye itching and redness,” he stated.

Experts say of late there is not much precipitation of suspended particle method (aerosol) or suspended particle matter (SPM) in the city. Aerosols or SPM act as cloud condensing nuclei to enhance precipitation level. Increase in SPM level increases more particle matter entering the atmosphere under available water vapour. Prof. Reddy said “excessive amount of particle matter is failing to load sufficient water on to it. As a result, rainwater drops are not growing and finally, no precipitation is occurring taking the coal dust to far off places in the city.”

Masks mooted

Prof. R.V. Rama Rao, coordinator of Institute of Development and Planning Studies said that now due to increased level of industrial pollution, it would be better to use masks or nasal filters. Increase in aerosol level has become a matter of serious concern. “No industry has any business to endanger the lives of the residents. We have to do something to stop pollution by port and others and I am ready to fund to any extent to launch ‘Save Vizag' campaign to fight against dangerous pollution levels in the city,” declared O. Naresh Kumar, CEO of Symbiosys Technologies.

After the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) identified Visakhapatnam as the most polluted city, the Ministry of Environment and Forests recently issued a circular declaring a temporary moratorium on expansion of activity or grounding of new projects in the critically polluted clusters.

Referring to NEERI and CPCB fiat in early 1990s, Capt. J. Rama Rao, an environmental activist, said unfortunately the recommendation not to give clearance to any new industry or expansion project in the bowl area had been ignored.

Keywords: Health hazards

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