Decline witnessed in Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter values in the last three years

Industry majors of late have taken some concrete action to combat pollution.

The marked decline in the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) values during the last three years as also the removal of Visakhapatnam from the list of ‘Critically polluted cities’ by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) seem to stand testimony to this fact.

The RSPM levels, which ranged between 25 and 200 micrograms per cubic metre in 2010, came down to the 50 – 190 range in 2011 and to 34.5 – 104.3 micrograms per cubic metre range in 2012. Gnanapuram, Police Barracks area and Port locations recorded the highest RSPM levels.

The pollution control measures initiated by industries like the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Essar Steel are expected to lower the pollution levels substantially during the next couple of years.

Coal and iron ore dust are the major pollutants generated by the VPT. The environment management systems taken up by the Port to reduce pollution include: mechanisation of bulk cargo handling and reduction in transport of cargo through trucks, reorganisation and centralisation of cargo storage areas and construction of high walls around the cargo areas with sprinkler systems to avoid flying of dust.

Mechanisation

“The mechanisation of coal handling facilities at the General Cargo berth, given to Vedanta, has been completed. The development works at the Adani berth are expected to be completed in six months and those at the SEW berth could take about a year. The half-a-dozen coal stacks of the VPT will be moved away from the residential areas to a single area close to the shore,” Environmental Engineer of the AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) K. Ravi Kumar told The Hindu. The HPCL has already installed a flu gas desulphurisation plant in one of its unit.

The desulphurisation plant, proposed at the second unit, was delayed in view of the major accident at the plant a few months ago. It is likely to be installed in another six months. These measures are expected to reduce the sulphur dioxide levels.

An electro static precipitator has been commissioned by Essar Steel this month and this will bring down the dust particles around the vicinity of the plant.

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