‘SMART CITY’ Gone ‘DUST CITY’? Dust from Construction Works of MSCL/MCC Pose Health Hazards

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‘SMART CITY’ Gone ‘DUST CITY’? Dust from Construction Works of MSCL/MCC Pose Health Hazards

 Mangaluru: Once upon a time Mangaluru, which was a clean city has now immersed in dust with particulate and fine-particulate matters getting generated by incomplete and ongoing infrastructure works filling the air thereby deteriorating the Air Quality Index, crossing the 100 mark.. Thanks to the development works undertaken by Mangaluru Smart City Limited (MSCL) and Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC), where the officials from both the administration are least bothered about the safety and health hazards of the citizens, who are daily exposed to the construction dust from a bunch of development works at various places in the City, turning the City into a DUST BOWL!

While the Managing Director of MSCL, Commissioner & Mayor of MCC, Engineers and other officials from both the administration’s move around the City in four wheeler with windows rolled down and AC turned on, keeping them away from all the construction dust/pollution they are responsible for, it is the common people riding on two-wheelers and pedestrians who are feeling the brunt of this pollution resulting in health problems. Does anyone from these two admin care about these common people suffering due to this dust/pollution. While most people accept it as part of life in a metropolis, very few are aware that regular exposure to road work or construction activities has a detrimental effect on health.

Sources revealed that while transport is the key source of emissions in Mangaluru, on-road suspended dust and construction dust contributes to 23% of air pollution in the Education city. A consultant pulmonologist from a renowned private hospital in the City speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “Construction work releases a lot of chemicals that can enter the airways and exposure to such particles, cement and sand can lead to respiratory ailments. Chemicals like asbestos, silica, formaldehyde, di-isocyanates, flame retardants are used in construction work, and many of them are carcinogenic. Particles less than 2.5mm can go deep into the lungs and cause inflammatory changes in the lungs”.

“Exposure at sandblasts can cause fibrosis and breathing difficulty. People who are exposed regularly are also vulnerable to tuberculosis. At any quarries or digging work such silica particles are released. Even during demolitions, lead and mercury get disseminated in the open, impacting not just the air but also underground water. People with prolonged exposure are also at a higher risk for pulmonary fibrosis, allergic conjunctivitis, chronic massive cough, cardiac and respiratory events, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and lung cancer. Illness related to breathing problems will be there every year during winter. However, it is on a higher scale this year. Enhanced dust particles in the air is the main reason for allergies and other reactions, particularly with people having low immunity,” added the doctor. .

As per sources, in spite the government has made it mandatory for construction site owners to take dust prevention measures for minimising the environmental impact, stringent implementation is needed to avert a health crisis. Unfortunately no one is following any safe health rules. It is learnt that Construction should be done scientifically to minimise the dissipation of dust in the air. Watering the area around the site can prevent dust from spreading, which is not done at any of the City’s ongoing projects. Premade concrete is another solution that can be implemented. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that nine out of 10 people now breathe polluted air, which kills seven million people every year. And one-third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease are due to pollution. Do the officials from MSCL and MCC know about it?

As per sources, AQI between 100-200 falls under moderate category as classified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) wherein people with lung diseases, asthma and heart diseases as well as children will feel difficulty in breathing. While AQI up to 50 is categorised “Good”, that between 50-100 is classified “Satisfactory”, meaning sensitive people will face minor breathing discomfort. As per data provided by private websites, accuweather.com and air-quality.com, AQI in Mangaluru is 107 and 139, respectively, while CPCB data for the day put Mangaluru AQI at 89, just two points less than Bengaluru (91), for Thursday.

Particulate matters and fine particulate matters have predominantly contributed to deteriorating AQI in Mangaluru. Mohammed Iqbal, a street vendor feeling the brunt in the construction zone in front of Kankanady market, said that as the rainy seasons have ended, the area is covered with dust almost every day now due to incomplete and ongoing road and drainage works in the central parts of the city. As all Smart City-related works have come to a standstill, people are forced to inhale the dusty air, he regretted. Compulsory wearing of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has come as a breather for many, he quipped.

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1 Comment

  1. All these problems are due to CORRUPTION!!! Official use Hands first and use Brain next after washing their hands.

    One example is on Neermarga to Volachil Road. First of all it is a death trap road with grass growing in both sides and people walking on the middle of the road. To add to this headache PWD has started to widen the road since one month. They dug up the road without Spraying Water and dust is flying everywhere including inside the Schools in the area. The contractor doesn’t even care who falls and dies due to their ignorance. Gravel is spread all over the area and 2 wheelers skid and fall. Roads are cut across more than 12 inches wide and now it has sunk down 6 inches or more and vehicle wheels get stuck. Rickshaws get down in this gutter and Passenger has to get down and push. I drive on this road everyday and breath this Dust and thinking when I will start Coughing in front of the PWD Official.

    Now the work has stopped since 10 days. When I contacted the PWD Official, his answer is that without moving the Power poles by MESCOM,they can’t carry on the work. Mescom hires such contractors who never install a Pole Vertically Straight. 50 percent of the Poles are tilted towards the road. Just today, One Pole fell in front of a Rickshaw just missing it by inches. I have told MESCOM JE dozens of times icluding Engineers inside MESCOM Office near KSRTC since 2 YEARS. Now it fell and made money for the Contractor. But MESCOM officials do not care to Check it nor the Panchayth Development Officer never cares about the DEVELOPMENT. May be if One Pole falls the Wires will drag 2 more adjusant Poles thus more money for the Contractor.

    I have spoken to the CEO of Zilla Panchayat, PWD Official, MESCOM Official, DC Office, Traffic Police, Hoysala and I even requested the Help of 112 in Bangalore. Only Police came and Controlled the Speed of Vehicles to save us from getting killed by Rash Mini Trucks. But it is like pourinng water on Rock where nothing grows. SO I am requesting all Media People to come to the area and publicize this Problem faced by the Citizens of the Area which Citizens will be grateful to all of You.
    Why did PWD start this work before the Poles where shifted. This is like having child before the marriage. The Mini lorries speed on the road and create more dust from gravel along with Konnaje Company Trucks carrying dirt openly without cover in the Windy area.
    Thanks to Media People for bringing up the Truth of Corruption.

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