While Vizag was acclaimed for its green and clean environment until a few decades ago, the recent developmental strides have certainly dented its covetous image. The expanding industrial belt and the surging vehicular density have caused an alarming rise in dust pollution, leaving the city in a spot of bother. With hazy air, dusty trees and sooty windows fast turning into familiar sights, pollution masks and air purifiers are becoming the unsaid necessities.
Furthermore, the unique topography, made up of picturesque hills on three sides and the sea on the other, hasn’t helped the cause either. Owing to the rising pollution, this scenic geographic formation traps the dust pollution and sends it inwards every time the breeze blows in from the sea. The tell-tale layer of black dust found everywhere and the growing incidence of breathing illnesses amongst the residents in the city call for worry.
While the Port and industries have allegedly taken several measures to control dust pollution, the thin layer of soot on almost every surface, tells a different story. Dust pollution is an issue that everyone has to deal with, and the onus of fighting the problem lies not just with the authorities, but with every citizen. From using eco-friendly vehicles to setting up modernised pollution control boards, the city needs to work out solutions, and do so quickly. Vizagites share their concerns.
“Several developmental projects in Vizag have increased dust pollution across the city. The construction sites too haven’t been taking any measures to help the situation. It is also very upsetting to see the concerned authorities not do much to keep a check on the high levels of coal dust pollution in the Old Town area.”
“While the initiation of a clean and smart city project is appreciable, I see that it is only limited to roads and streets. Ideally, a smart city should involve a clean environment, with clean air and clean water. I got sinusitis because of the air pollution some years back and it continues to trouble me. Industries certainly provide us with opportunities to grow but that shouldn’t happen at the cost of the health of a local neighbourhood.”
“Many people in Vizag suffer from allergic rhinitis due to dust pollution. There is a saying, ‘neglected sneezing leads to wheezing’. Reactions which start with sneezing and a runny nose are often ignored, but from the nose, it trickles down via the respiratory tract into the lungs which can possibly lead to wheezing, asthma and allergic bronchitis. To avoid environmental pollution, I’d suggest that people should use a mask while traveling.”
-Dr. Rakesh Godavarthi