Unchecked emissions, suspected to be originating from rubber and meat waste processing units in the Edayar industrial area, continue to cause health problems among residents in Eloor, Muppathadam and Kadungalloor.
Foul smell started emanating from the units at the time of the Onam holidays last week and it has not yet subsided as the residents experience it in daytime and night hours. A delegation of elected representatives in these areas staged a protest at the Environment Surveillance Centre of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board on Tuesday, demanding immediate steps to identify the source of the air pollution and take remedial action without delay. People in the affected regions had suffered a similar situation in August last when emissions from rubber, bonemeal and waste processing units made life miserable for them.
“Several persons had faced difficulties in breathing following the spread of pungent smell and emissions. We have doubts about the efficiency of biofilters installed in the industrial units responsible for the emissions,” said Suresh Muttathil, president of Kadungalloor panchayat.
Board officials admitted that air pollution in the affected regions had turned worse over the last one week. “We are inspecting the biofilter units installed in nearly 11 units involved in rubber, waste and meat processing works to ascertain whether the systems are working properly. The preliminary inference showed that the filter units may not be working efficiently,” they said.
Despite tall claims, the board has not been able to find a permanent solution to the air pollution caused by these units. It had stated in September last that the CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) would be entrusted with the task of tracking the source of such emissions, besides offering a scientific solution and action plan. Board officials said that the process was in its final phase. However, the agency has not yet signed an agreement with the NIIST as part of handing over the work.