Increasing dust emission from quarries leaves Kozhikode villagers concerned

The increasing fine dust emission from various granite quarries and the vehicles used for carrying quarry products are posing a big health threat for residents in Thiruvambady, Karassery and Kodiyathur panchayats. Even after a number of suspected pulmonary and dermatological ailments were reported from the area as a result of the exposure to rock dust, the enforcement of safety measures is still being overlooked.

Some of the residents in Thiruvambady panchayat’s Koombara and Peedikappara villages said the rural roads connected to the quarries in the area were like “dust beds”. When a goods lorry entered the road, no other motorist or pedestrian could use the stretch for some time, they alleged.

Those living along such rural roads were the worst-hit as they were always exposed to the dust. Though many tried to put up large covers in front of their houses to cut exposure to the dust, large number of trucks with uncovered load and poor safety measures taken by quarry owners made the residents’ efforts ineffective.

“In the past, quarry owners used to spray water to suppress the dust. With an increase in the number of goods vehicles, they stopped the practice,” said a local environmental activist from Peedikappara. He said no Revenue department officer or police officer was found enforcing rules on a regular basis.

The appeal made by local environmental organisations to carry out a study on the increasing number of respiratory ailments among villagers is yet to be taken up seriously by the Health Department. The observations and suggestions put forth by a noted pulmonologist to address the issue also failed to draw any attention.

Meanwhile, an action committee of farmers and various political parties are gearing up to launch a protest, covering the Koombara-Kakkadampoyil road where dust pollution is at its peak. They said the plan was to make the quarry operators legally responsible for addressing the issue and ensuring proper preventive measures, including regular dust suppression using sprinklers at problem areas. Roads would be blocked if they failed to comply with the demands, said the action committee members.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 3:12:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/increasing-dust-emission-from-quarries-leaves-kozhikode-villagers-concerned/article38298529.ece