Reported by Vishwanath Kumar
Paradip, Nov 26:
The Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has decided to conduct an impact assessment study to find out the level of air and water pollution allegedly caused Paradip-based fertilizer plants.
The move follows reports that two Paradip-based fertilizer plants – Paradeep Phosphates Limited (PPL) and Indian Farmers Fertilizers Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) – are generating gypsum waste deposit is to the tune of a staggering 25 lakh tonnes annually. In the absence of measures to dispose of the huge quantity of this highly polluting substance, the accumulated waste has alraming assumed alarming proportions. Worse still, an average of 2.5 lakh tonnes of waste is added every month.
“The objective of the impact assessment study is to ascertain the level of pollution being caused by the pilling up of gypsum by the two fertilizer plants. The study would be comprehensive in nature. Besides OSPCB scientists, environment experts from Indian Institute of technology (IIT) would be part of the study team,” said Regional Officer,O SPCB, Prasant Kumar Kar.
Green activists continue to point out their accusing fingers at the two fertilizer manufacturing units for leaving the gypsum mounds unattended.
PPL was recently accused of dumping solid waste outside the factory premise at Bhitargada near Paradip Township. Besides, it was found wanting in putting in place a pollution control mechanism to stop emission of pollutant dust particles into the air. As a result, the ambient air quality both inside and outside the plant has deteriorated from the prescribed limit. OSPCB had a made an on-the-spot investigation and fled cases against the plant management under the provisions of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
PPL authorities, however, maintain that they are doing their bit to address the issue.
“The plant is intent on maintaining ambient air and water quality in and around the plant site. We are doing judicious use of gypsum as fertilizing agents in crop field,” General Manager (personnel and administration), PPL, P. K. Panda said.
It’s pertinent to note here that the House committee of the Odisha assembly, during its visit on 4 January this year, had expressed concern over rising pollution levels in the port township and adjoining localities.