Air pollution hits salt pans

Salt produced in various parts of Tuticorin is exposed to air pollution. The quality of salt is thus degraded, said A.R.A.S. Dhanabalan, secretary, Tuticorin Small Scale Salt Manufacturers Association, here on Tuesday.

Salt pans at Ayyanarkulam, Tharuvaikulam, Keezha Arasadi and Pattinamaruthur were increasingly polluted by fly ash from power plant.

As fly ash billow through chimneys of power plant and deposit on heaps of salt, it gets blackened. It has cast a shadow on the market.

About 400 to 500 acres of salt pans were reeling under this crisis in these areas.

Officials from the departments of Salt and Pollution Control Board had not taken any action to check this problem, he said.

Officials from Salt Department, when contacted, said that such an issue was not brought to its attention recently. However, power plant operators were instructed to do the needful to contain fly ash emission. They were asked to dispose of fly ash without accumulating it on the site. Normally, one per cent of insoluble content is allowed as per rules of Food Safety and Standards Act but lab test report showed insoluble content beyond two per cent, sources said.

Sources from Pollution Control Board ruled out any possibility of fly ash from power plants accumulating on heaps of salt.

Salt pans at these localities were located five or six km away from power plants and fly ash would certainly settle down within a radius of one km. Smoke emission from poorly maintained heavy vehicles plying through roads along salt pans was the cause behind the issue. For, salt pans were located close to roads.

So the regional transport authorities have to check smoke emission from heavy vehicles.

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