While the prescribed norms for RSPM is 60 and 120 microns per metre cube in residential and industrial areas, the current recorded RSPM at Gnanapuram is 70 to 90 microns per metre cube and 105 to 141 at Mindhi.
Highlighting the increase in pollution levels in the city, experts called for a concerted and holistic efforts to control the levels at a round table held at Anil Neerukonda Institute of Technology (ANITS) on the eve of World Environment Day on Friday.
Senior environmentalist T. Sivaji Rao pointed out the rampant depletion of greenery on the hills in the name of quarrying and the unscientific filling of wetlands. S. Ramakrishna Rao, a professor from the Department of Civil Engineering, Andhra University, talked about optimum tapping of solar energy. He also highlighted the issue of water contamination. “Due to leakages in the pipelines, the water supplied by the GVMC is highly contaminated. It contains microbes over and above the norms. Similarly, due to flowing drains Visakhapatnam beach is the second highest polluted beach in the country after Mumbai,” he said.
Referring to the increasing pollution levels in the Old Town area, thanks to Visakhapatnam Port Trust, president of Vizag Journalist Forum M. Yugandhar Reddy said that the in charge Superintendent of a government hospital reported that the death rate due of respiratory diseases in the areas surrounding VPT increased of late. He also cautioned against bauxite mining and its effect on the groundwater and the flow of effluents into the sea from various pharmaceutical companies. He suggested that the student community should take up the issues concerning environment on a war-footing.
Uday Bhaskar Reddy and P.V. Prasad Rao, both professors, highlighted the issues concerning noise pollution and groundwater contamination. Prof. Prasad Rao stated that traces of mercury and lead were detected in the groundwater in certain areas like Mindhi and Madhurawada. He pointed out that the issues can be addressed only through a holistic approach with active participation from government, general public and industry.
Rajsekhar from AP Pollution Control Board pointed out that the dust pollution from VPT had increased mainly due to the change in the wind direction. “Earlier, we rarely witnessed south westerly winds during summer. But this time it is present in varying speeds from 20 kmph to 60 kmph all along from February to May. Because of this phenomenon, the dust suppression system of VPT could not function as desired,” he said.