Andhra Pradesh

Kurnool chokes on dust pollution

A truck leaves a trail of dust in Kurnool on Wednesday.

A truck leaves a trail of dust in Kurnool on Wednesday.  

‘Vendors, labourers at high risk; commercial hubs in danger zone’

“It is high time we deal with dust pollution in the city,” said senior environmental specialist of the Kurnool Pollution Control Board (PCB) Achyuta Ramaiah. Even though dust pollution in the city has not exceeded the monthly average standard, it has exceeded the annual average limit.

Since 2013, the particulate matter, less than 10 microns in size (PM10), has been more than the annual average standard set by the PCB. While the standard is set at 60 micrograms per cubic metre of air, Kurnool has been registering more than 75 micrograms per cubic metre of air every year, except for in 2016, when it was 67 micrograms per cubic metre of air. However, the city has been keeping the PM10 level below the monthly average standard, set at 100 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

Explaining the effects of the pollution, Mr. Ramaiah said, “infrequent exposure to dust may not cause any problems. However, those exposed to dust every day may face health issues.”

Private vehicles

He further said that vendors and labourers could face lung and chest problems as they are exposed to pollution every day for a longer duration.

The PCB’s environmental engineer Muni Prasad said there were five locations in the city with high levels of dust pollution - the Bellary Chowrastha, Raj Vihar, the C- Camp, Krishna Nagar, and the Poolabazar. These places are busy commercial hubs visited by thousands of people every day.

Mr Prasad added that dry climate, narrow roads, improper road maintenance, less greenery, and most importantly, lack of public transport were the major causes of dust pollution. “In the absence of public transport, several autorickshaws are plying on roads. More vehicles mean more dust and vehicular pollution,” he said.

PCB officials said that with the plan of developing Kurnool into an industrial hub, pollution levels in the city would go up if action was not taken by stakeholders. “A mega seed park, a pharma park, a steel plant and an airport would shoot up pollution levels in the city,” said Mr. Ramaiah.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 1:51:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/kurnool-chokes-on-dust-pollution/article27141989.ece

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