Unscientific disposal of industrial effluents and domestic sewage has led to an increased incidence of fish-kill, forcing fishermen to press the panic button.
“Fish-kill incidents have become very common in Pudimadaka, Mutyalammapalem, Tikkavanipalem, Chinanagyamalapalem and Appikonda areas. Authorities have turned a deaf ear to our pleas to curb ocean pollution,” said National Fisherfolk Forum general secretary Arjili Dasu.
There have been demands to impose a moratorium on Greenfield and Brownfield projects in the city limits due to high density of industries and residential colonies that have come up around them.
Visakhapatnam is witnessing an alarming increase in industrial pollution despite the Central Pollution Control Board withdrawing its ‘critically polluted’ tag given to the city following an improvement in emission levels on the basis of data submitted by the AP Pollution Control Board.
Marred by delay
An experts’ committee deputed by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had visited the Parawada and Atchutapuram areas last year following allegations by YSRCP MP V. Vijay Sai Reddy that delay in construction of a second common effluent treatment plant was putting pressure on new industries to discharge untreated effluents into the sea.
Work on construction of a second plant with a capacity of 1.5 million litres per day is progressing at a snail’s pace. APIIC has been mandated to execute the project on a PPP basis along with another plant with a capacity of seven million litres per day.
The vapour cloud burst triggered by the leakage of gas at HPCL’s Visakh Refinery in 1997, which killed at least 60 persons and forced the eviction of lakhs of people living in surrounding areas, is still fresh in the memory of denizens in the city.
Commenting on the rising pollution, social activist and former IAS officer E.A.S. Sarma told The Hindu that sometime ago, CPCB had categorised the industrial cluster around Vizag as one of the most polluted in the country. “Vizagites are constantly breathing in toxic pollutants generated from the stockyards of Visakhapatnam and Gangavaram Ports, HPCL, garbage incineration from Kapulappada, emissions from vehicular traffic and so on,” Mr. Sarma said.
Studies have shown that industrial pollutants in water bodies and chemicals used in agriculture have spread into vegetables, fish and food grains.
The combined impact on the health of the citizens is responsible for the heavy disease burden among the citizens, he added.