Jharia residents’ ire against rising poisonous pollution spilled into the streets in the form of demonstrations and slogan shouting on Tuesday. They also formed ‘human chain’ while demanding immediate check on rising pollution in the Jharia Coalfield.
The residents said neither the district administration nor coal company Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) had initiated steps for checking the rising pollution in the region despite alarming reports by a Kolkata-based agency.
Later, they submitted a memorandum to Jharia block circle officer (CO) and Bastacola Area general manager of BCCL in this regard.
A Kolkata-based agency ‘Science for Human Being’ in its report revealed that 17% of Jharia Coalfield residents were affected with skin disease, 13% with respiratory ailments and 7% with hair loss (baldness) due to rising level of coal-related pollution.
The Kolkata agency conducted the survey in July 2015 but the details are yet to be made public.
As per State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) records, air pollution of Jharia Coalfield is 250.40 RSPM (Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter). According to pollution control board official, 100 RSPM is considered normal level of air pollution. In 2010 survey of Central Pollution department, coal city was on the 13th position among 20 most polluted cities of state.
“Life of 3 lakh Jharia Coalfield residents is at stake following rise in diseases owing to coal dust pollution. Since no action is being taken by authorities to check them, people of Jharia have themselves decided to create awareness and take steps for controlling pollution,” said Anil Kumar Jain, coordinator of ‘Dhanbad ki Awaz’, a social organisation which launched the movement on Tuesday.
The residents, social activists, students of schools and colleges under banner of Dhanbad ki Awaz resolved to plant at least two saplings each every year. The activists would also make residents aware about the effects of pollution and measures to avoid them.