Stone crushers posing threat to health of Wuyan residents as PCB fails to check pollution

ESS AHMAD. Dated: 4/10/2018 1:49:35 PM

Respiratory disorders on rise among local populace

SRINAGAR, Apr 9: The mushrooming of stone crushers in Wuyan village of Pampore and the failure of the authorities to put checks on the pollution caused by them is posing a major threat to the health of local populace.
Though some months ago, the villagers constituted a group and initiated a campaign to press the authorities to minimise the number of stone crushers in the area and take measures for pollution control but so far the authorities remain unmoved. How the pollution emanating from these factories is proving to be disastrous for the locals can be guessed from the fact that thousands of people of the area suffer from different respiratory diseases.
"Few months back, I had sought the details about the number of people from the area suffering from chest diseases from the concerned medical officer. According to his figures, the hospital had registered 3876 patients with various respiratory ailments by the end of 2016 where as over a dozen suffer from tuberculosis (TB)," president of the Green Wuyan Civil Society (GWCS), Advocate Zameer Farooq told Kashmir Times .
Zameer cited the inhalation of dust emanating from these crushers as the main reason for rise in respiratory diseases.
Most of the crushers, he said, are operating without pollution controlling devices. "Fifteen years ago only a dozen stone crushers were operating in the area but their number has gone up to around forty now. Even if some of these stone crushers have pollution controlling devices installed but they are not being put to use," he said.
Advocate Zameer said that the owners of these stone crushers are not using these devices to save the money.
"Pollution Control Board has miserably failed to make the owners of these crushers install pollution controlling devices or use them. There seems to be a big nexus between the two at the cost of the health of people of the area," he said.
Zameer is now mulling to move the court to pressurise the PCB to keep check on pollution caused by the stone crushers in the area. "Since the PCB officials don't bother to visit these stone crushers and penalise them for not abiding by the directives I am now planning to move the honourable court," Zameer said.
Another resident, Mohammad Akram, said that these stone crusher owners might be making their huge money but for the locals it is a catastrophe in making. "Wuyan has a population of ten thousands and nearly half of the population is involved in respiratory diseases which is alarming," Akram said.
District officer (PCB) for Pulwama, said that they have directed all the stone crusher owners to install all the devices meant to control the pollution and use them all the time. "We had set a deadline of March 31. If they don't follow the guidelines we are not going to renew their licences," PCB officer said.
He, however, said that the involvement of locals in respiratory diseases may not be necessarily because of the pollution caused by stone crushers. "This could be one of the reasons but not the only reason," he said.



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