Kendrapara: Toxic fumes discharged by the industrial firms in Paradip have led to widespread pollution in Kendrapara district, a report said.
The toxic fumes emanating from these plants have made life suffocating for the residents in Mahakalpada block of the district. Moreover, the toxic effluents discharged from these firms into the eater bodies like rivers and creeks are destroying the natural environment of Bhitarkanika wetland and the adjoining areas in the district. This has left the residents fuming as the district administration is yet to take any action on the issue.
Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, carved out of undivided Cuttack district, are on the two banks of the Mahanadi river. However, Kendrapara district lacks industries, while several industrial units have come up in Paradip Port area in Jagatsinghpur district.
The road connecting the industrial complex in neighbouring Jajpur and Jagatsinghpur districts is in close proximity of Kendrapara district. Everyday heavy commercial vehicles carrying chemical goods to these industries travel by this road endangering the lives of the local residents. Residents apprehend that they are at serious risk in case of any disaster takes place on the road. However, the district administration is yet to take any precautionary measure to safeguard the lives of the residents.
Villagers Purnima majhi, Sudarshan Bera and Haripad Biswas of Batighar area under Mahakalapara block alleged that pollution from the industrial firms in Paradip has made their lives miserable. This has resulted in spread of various skin diseases and even cancer, besides affecting the livelihood of the locals. The toxic fumes and dust are also destroying their crops and affecting the fertility of the soil in the area. The roads and houses as well as plants and trees can be seen swathed in thick red dust emanating from a steel plant in Paradip.
Environmentalists Hemant Kumar Rout, Samarendra Mahali and Prabhu Prasad Mohapatra say that this has also posed serious threat to the Bhitarkanika National Park as well as to the flora and fauna and the marine creatures in the area. Incidents of crops getting blighted and decline in harvest have also been reported from the area.
Social activists Bibhuti Bhusan Kar, Lakshmidhar Swain and Pramod Kumar Swain alleged that it has been almost two years since the crisis management group was directed to conduct a survey and take steps to check the pollution but nothing has been done in this regard so far.
When contacted, Sub-Collector Niranjan Behera said that the district administration is aware of the development and the matter will be taken up with the Factories and Boilers department and the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA).