‘It will not only endanger marine life but also the lives of people living in the region’

The Visakhapatnam-Kakinda PCPIR project will cause extensive damage to the marine biodiversity of the region resulting in displacement of fishermen. The hydrocarbon pollution will not only endanger the marine life but also the lives of people living in the region, according to experts on the subject.

At an interaction organised by Praja Spandana, Prof. E.U.B. Reddy of Andhra University, Prof. G. Krishna Rao, a retired professor of the Geology Department of AU, and Praja Spandana president C.S. Rao explained the impact of the project on health and livelihood of the local people and the damage to the marine ecology. They advocated taking up of sustainable projects that go well with the local conditions and topography of the region.

Prof. Reddy said that the nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide to be released by petrochemical industries would result in burning sensation in the eyes and respiratory diseases that could lead to cut in lifespan of the people of the region. Fossil fuels were estimated to last not more than three to four decades after which the project would lose relevance.

Instead of going for ‘dirty’ energy like petroleum products and thermal power, it would be wise to go for alternative sources of energy like solar power, tidal and wind energy that do not generate pollution and were perennial sources.

There was no need of acquiring vast tracts of fertile agricultural lands to set up hydrocarbon industries and depriving farmers and fishermen of their livelihood.

Stress on study

Mr. C.S. Rao demanded that an intensive study should be conducted by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), groundwater experts, geologists and sociologists to study the long-term impacts of the proposed PCPIR project.

Prof. Krishna Rao said that the area from Visakhapatnam to Payakaraopeta was underlain by Khondalite rocks, which have moderate to high groundwater potential due to joints and fractures at depth and thick weathered zone at the surface.

The aquifers contain potable water even close to the coast because of the massive nature of the rocks.

The area between Payakaraopeta and Kakinada was underlain with sandstones and form potential aquifers with excellent groundwater quality.

Coastal people have been depending on groundwater for their drinking and irrigation needs for generations.

Exponential growth of petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries could lead to groundwater contamination as many of the pollutants were water soluble.

The experts demanded scrapping of the PCPIR project as a whole and taking up of ecologically viable projects to generate employment without damage to the environment.

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