OTHERS

Ore dust proving to be a health hazard

Staff Correspondent

MANGALORE: The Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) has criticised the New Mangalore Port Trust for not paying adequate attention to solve the problems created by the transportation of iron ore dust in the city as well as in Panambur.

While it has appreciated that the New Mangalore Port is getting good revenue through iron ore exports, its district president, C.A. Raheem, said that the hazards it poses cannot be neglected. The NMP earns Rs. 98 crores a year though handling 7.17 million tonnes of iron ore.

Trucks come from all parts of he State, and many of them are driven rashly resulting in the ore dust settling on roads, buildings and trees, polluting the entire area.

He said pollution has been contained in Marmagao and Karwar ports, where sprinklers are used in the storage area and water jet system for the trucksThe study committee of the INTUC has found out that road users in the NMP area are finding it hazardous to commute, particularly two-wheeler riders, as the flying dust gets into their eyes resulting in irritation and discomfort. Many households in the NMP township have also complained of lung infections and breathing problems, which could be due to the iron ore dust inhalation, Mr. Raheem said.

The committee members pointed out that the facilities to prevent pollution should be strengthened so that the people living around the NMP are not put to trouble. The committee has suggested that the NMP collect Re. 1 per tonne from each truck owner and the accrued funds be used to create facilities to make the surroundings more environment friendly.

The workers at the NMP are put to great risk as they do not have protective gear and the INTUC has asked the NMP management to immediately provide protective gear to the workers. The INTUC will also take up an awareness campaign to impress upon the management about the importance of keeping the ore dust under check.

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