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District's Power Houses Pose Danger to Humans

Obra (Sonbhadra). The thermal power plants of the district have become a danger to human life. United Nations in its report on environmental programme has clearly said that mercury level in the people living in the Sonbhadra-Singrauli belt of India has become more than normal, due to which there is a danger of permanent damage of the nervous system, brain, kidneys and other organs.

The UN report has given the reference of the observation made by the Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi, in which power houses situated in the area alone were responsible for 17 per cent of the total mercury emitted in the area.

Black Smith Institute has termed objections of the United Nations and said that right from the beginning of the year 1840, when coal was discovered in the Singrauli area, till date, natural resources were being regularly exploited, but attempts to conserve the environment were not made. Concentration of dams, power houses and coal mines have damaged the environment to such an extent that not only the underground water and Rihand dam have been polluted, but also mercury, chlorine, chromium and other metals have been dissolved in the soil and the crops.

Thermal power plants were emitting the fly ash in huge quantities every year resulting in decrease of the land fertility. Presence of calcium, sulphate, silicon and minute particles of magnesium and toxic elements such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, etc., is severely affecting public health. These are gradually leading to emergence of diseases such as respiratory system disorders, lung cancer and silicosis. Strong acidic rain can become one of its consequences in the near future.

United Nations has shown a great concern over the pollution arising due to the power plants of about 10,000 megawatts established in Sonbhadra-Singrauli belt on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

It must be acknowledged that Black Smith Institute of America has included this area in the list of highly polluted areas of the world and submitted its report to the United Nations. Black Smith Institute says that the area is emitting 0.3 per cent of the total carbon dioxide pollution in the world. At the same time the area alone is contributing to 10 per cent of the total pollution due to carbon dioxide in India. Thus this area is going to become a major reason of global warming. In short danger bell for the district has rung.

Pollution Responsible for Rising Temperature

Black Smith Institute holds pollution from thermal power projects and mining responsible for rising temperature in the area. The Institute says that about 1,400 sq miles of the area is in the grip of pollution. A population of about 1,85,000 is affected in the region. It must be noted that the Ministry of Forests and Environment of the Government of India has started pollution monitoring in the area by accepting it as a polluted area.

720 Kilograms of Mercury is Being Emitted Every Year

The report of United Nations on environment programme is very frightening. According to a study done by the French Company, the power houses situated in the Sonbhadra-Singrauli belt are emitting 720 kg of mercury every year. The report has mentioned a complaint lodged by the tribals with the World Bank that environmental concerns were not addressed while establishing thermal power projects.

[Translation of the news item published in Hindi Daily Dainik Jagran on March 19, 2008]

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