Goa is been portrayed as a paradise on earth due to the various reasons and one of the most relevant reason is surely its solution free environment. People from all over the India wants to come down to Goa to stay away from the pollution. Many celebrities and businessmen buying properties here due to its clean green surroundings but with the time things have started changing and after the mining dust now the coal dust is emerging as a serious health hazard in the famous port city of Goa. 

The city of Vasco da Gama is going through a very serious concern of the coal dust getting accumulated in the residents of the people and ion some cases the small children are the victims of this deadly cost dust. 

The Coastal State of Goa was taken aback when the images of a toddler’s feet covered in black soot, surfaced the internet. The Coal pollution in Vasco has been coming to the attention of the locals as well the officials. The photographs of the toddler’s feet have raised major concerns on the living conditions of the residents and their health in the port town, due to coal pollution.

The Coal Dust goes into the upper and lower respiratory tracts from the nose, right down to the lungs. It also may affect other parts of the body and cause allergies. Doctors and Specialists are of the opinion that continuous exposure to coal dust particles will lead to serious health consequences of the residents.

The elected representatives of Vasco understood the seriousness of the case when they too came across the toddler’s pictures and also the floors and utensils covered in soot. Many activists have been raising their voice against the coal pollution in the Vasco and Mormugao port which has been a major issue for quite some years.

According to Herald Goa, An activist shot the video and it went viral on social media. The video saw angry responses from various areas of Goa. However, the toddler with blackened feet has caused the most uneasiness amongst the people. The incident was noticed by one of the Mormugao Municipal Council (MMC) Councillors, who took pictures and urged activists to do something in this regard.

The coal handling at MPT by Adani has been a major reason for the fury of the locals. The coal handling berth is located at a distance of 50 meters from the residents of the jetty area. No precautions whatsoever have been taken by the handlers and these coal dusts have been affecting the health and homes of the residents living in the region. 

According to Times of India, the increase in the port town’s coal pollution levels has alarmed not only local medical practitioners but also public health regulators. Senior physician Dr Baban Parulekar says Vasco has been witnessing a definite rise in respiratory diseases. “It (coal dust) goes into the upper and lower respiratory tracts from the nose, right down to the lungs. It also may affect other parts of the body and cause allergies” 

Stating as the ideal solution, Doctors suggest keeping a check on the air quality. Dr Akashdeep Singh Arora, Consultant chest physician at Old Goa’s Healthway Hospital states that long-term exposure to coal dust could cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and that workers exposed to it over a long period even risk catching pneumoconiosis — a disease caused by dust accumulation in the lung sacs. 

Does the interests of the businessmen like Adanis are more important than the life of the innocent people of Goa? Why is the pollution control board and Government is not looking into this matter and removing the hazard from Goa?

Doctors and Specialists are of the opinion that continuous exposure to coal dust particles will lead to serious health consequences of the residents. Children are at a greater risk as they tend to be more vulnerable to the pollution. The locals have urged the officials to take appropriate measures to tackle this issue but no successful efforts have been made so far.

On Thursday, Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) conducted a series of inspections at Vasco following reports of the pitiable conditions the residents are living in owing to the increased coal dust pollution. According to Herald Goa, Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has directed JSW owned South West Port Limited (SWPL) to temporarily suspend its coal handling activities at Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) until further directions.

Due to the deteriorating air quality, GSPCB Member Secretary Shamila Monteiro said that the coal handling activities will be kept on hold, “We have not issued any stop order but has asked to temporarily suspend its activities,” she said. Seeing the conditions of the residents, the officials felt the need to get down the level of pollution and thus have halted the activities of the coal handling in the area until the air quality improves.

It is indeed a worrisome matter that health of the people is in danger due to such activities. The Government must come up with a way to help these residents breathe healthy air by demanding the coal handling operators to take necessary precautions to prevent pollution. This move is just a temporary way to help the residents and the officials must soon come up with a solution to this fiasco. 

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