Chaitanya Sravanti, a voluntary organisation, staged a dharna near the Visakhapatnam Port Trust’s administrative office on Wednesday demanding that a comprehensive time-bound action plan be taken up by the port to bring down pollution levels to the national ambient air quality (NAAQ) standards.

Chaitanya Sravanti president Shirin Rahman, who led the dharna, said the organisation had been waging a prolonged struggle on the heavy pollution caused by the port’s open, bulk cargo handling, affecting hundreds of families in the One Town area.

Dr. Rahman alleged that despite repeated appeals to arrest pollution, no significant result was achieved and the number of people falling prey to pollution was mounting.

Quoting data which she said was obtained from the AP Pollution Control Board, she said RSPM levels in February 2013 in the One Town area were between 111.3 mg/cubic metre and 386 mg/cubic metre as against the acceptable level of 40 mg/cubic metre. The port should at least take steps to mitigate the problem and organise medical camps to help the residents, she stated and criticised the apathetic attitude of the port authorities.

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