Paradip, March 5 (LocalWire): Residents in the port city are facing a major health emergency due to a sudden spike in air pollution from coal and gypsum dust produced by the fertilizer giants, an expert has warned.
Paradeep Phosphates Limited (PPL) and Indian Farmers Fertilizers’ Co-operative Limited (IFFCL) alone generate 25 lakh tonnes of gypsum waste annually, he said, requesting anonymity.
While PPL supplies its gypsum waste through vessels to factories in Bangladesh, IFFCO uses roads to supply it to various industries. PPL, though, still needs to carry it by road from factory to the port area.
Trucks often ferry the waste exposed at night, and as a result, some of it fall on the road in the wind. Hence, people living in the vicinity are more susceptible to respiratory and skin diseases, the expert said.
Besides gypsum, coal and iron dust have also increased the toxic levels in the air. Many roads in the city have been covered with such dust.
Ramesh Chandra Ekka, an officer of the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), said, “Truckers overload the waste material in the vehicles, and as a result, the surplus falls on the road. We have advised IFFCO and PPL to ensure the trucks are not overloaded.”
“And if the rules are still flouted, we will force them to stop transporting the waste by road,” he added.