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'Coalossal' impurity: Vasco's air pollution four times above limit

Pollution Board issues show cause notice to SWPL

Story: The | Goan | 16th February 2019, 03:18 Hrs


>> Values of PM10 was 124.93 and 155.61 respectively, well above the limit of 100

>> The readings for PM10 was 249 and 126
FEB 5 & 7 AT MPT

>> The readings were as high as 390 and 437, or four times the permissible limit

PANAJI: The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has directed South West Port Limited (SWPL) to temporarily suspend coal handling at Berth 6(A) in view of the deteriorating air quality at Vasco da Gama city and has issued a show cause notice to SWPL directing its representatives to be present at the office of the Goa State Pollution Control Board to explain why the consent to operate should not be revoked.
“The management of your unit is hereby directed to temporarily suspend the handling of coking coal and coke at your facility at Berth 6(A) forthwith and to appear before the Goa State Pollution Control Board on February 21 at 11:30 am at its office at Saligao in order to show cause as to why the renewed consent to operate order issued to your unit by this board should not be revoked and as to why action under the Air Act should not be initiated against you,” the notice reads.
The notice which was issued on Tuesday February 14, notes that air quality monitoring readings at several test sites showed that the permissible limit of 100 micrograms per cubic metre on a 24-hour average for PM10 and 60 micrograms per cubic metre for PM2.5 was exceeded on several occasions during February.
The GSPCB noted that the real time ambient air quality monitoring system installed by SWPL themselves at the Port indicated that on February 6, and February 7 the values of PM10 was 124.93 and 155.61 respectively well above the limit of 100.
Similarly, readings of air quality independently taken by the Goa State Pollution Control Board at the Fuse Call Station at MPT and at the MPT Fire Brigade Station also exceeded. At the fuse cell station at MPT, the readings for PM10 was 249 and 126 on February 5 and 7 respectively.
At the MPT Fire Brigade station the readings were as high as 390 and 437, or four times the permissible limit on February 5 and 7.
The Board in its 136th meeting discussed the issue at length and concluded that handling of coal during the prevalent windy conditions resulted in a deterioration of ambient air quality standards in Vasco city as noted by the readings of the various ambient air quality monitoring stations.
Coal handling is being carried out in the open at the Mormugao Port despite several directions to the port authorities to ensure that the handling is done in a responsible manner.
Coal imported at MPT is then transported onto trains which carry the coal to steel plants in North Karnataka. South West Port’s parent company JSW Steel runs several steel plants in North Karnataka which rely on coal brought in at MPT.
Last year, the Goa State Pollution Control Board revoked the consent to operate granted to Mormugao Port Trust after it was found that by the Port’s own records was handling way more coal than the consent allowed it to while the GSPCB was caught napping.
The GSPCB renewed the consent after SWPL approached the High Court.   

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