PRESS RELEASE : Dirty Industries in Chennai’s Edges Blow their Poisons to City Centre

Chennai, 10 May 2017: Air quality results from Poes Garden and the posh Boat Club indicate that the city cannot escape pollution by merely pushing all dirty industries to the poorer working class areas along the city’s margins, and particularly North Chennai. “Chennai can never dream of clean air as long as it considers Ennore, Manali in the north or Alathur in the south to be industrial sacrifice zones. Our experience from Delhi tells us that the sources of local air pollution may be tens of kilometres away from the city,” said Shweta Narayan of Community Environmental Monitoring.

Coastal Resource Centre took a total of eleven 24-hour samples from Chennai and the edges of the Chennai Metropolitan Area in April 2017. Six of the worst samples are from locations in North Chennai – from NTO Kuppam on the Ennore Highway, Manali, Sivanpadai Kuppam (near Ennore Thermal Plant), Kodungaiyur, Kuruvimedu (near Vallur Thermal plant’s coal ash pond) and Seppakkam (near NCTPS’ coal ash pond). The samples collected at Sivanpadai Kuppam (Ennore), NTO Kuppam (Ennore Highway), Kodungaiyur and Manali had levels of PM2.5 that would be considered by the U.S. EPA as “Very Unhealthy – People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid all physical activity.”

Levels of PM2.5 in Poes Garden and Boat Club would be considered by the U.S. EPA as “Unhealthy — People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.”

Factsheet Finalpdf.jpgThe elevated levels of iron and calcium in all samples, including from Poes Garden and Boat Club, suggest that coal combustion in industrial or power plant boilers may be a significant contributor to the urban pollution load. “There is a case to be made that emissions from coal ash dumps, thermal plants and industrial boilers, which can be re-suspended, has created regionally elevated levels of iron and calcium particulates in Chennai,” said Dr. Mark Chernaik, staff scientist at US-based NGO ELAW-US, who interpreted the results.

The Ennore region alone has 3330 MW of installed coal power plant capacity, with more than 1500 acres as dedicated coal ash dumps. Another 6430 MW is proposed to be added in the coming years taking total capacity to 10,000 MW.

”The high concentration of polluting industries in the city’s northern and southern edges is affecting all of Chennai,” said Dr. Hisamuddin Papa, a leading pulmonologist from Huma Hospital. “North Chennai, with its dense working class population is particularly vulnerable as poor health exacerbates their poverty. But we cannot help them until existing industries continue to pollute, and more polluting industries are allowed to come up here,” he said.

For more details:  Pooja Kumar: +91 9791122180.

Note: The 24-hour samples were taken using filters fitted to a low volume air sampler and analysed for PM2.5 and heavy metals in Chester LabNet at Oregon, USA.

Public Hearing Announcement for 1 x 660 MW Ennore Thermal Power Station (Replacement)

Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has announced the Public Hearing for the 1 x 660MW Ennore Thermal Power Station (Replacement) scheduled to be held on the 30th of May 2017 at Camp – 1 of the ETPS complex in Ennore.

EIA can be accessed here : May 2017 – Environmental Impact Assessment for 1 x 660 MW Ennore Thermal Power Project Replacement – TANGEDCO

Once a biological hotspot, biodiversity in the Ennore Creek has been steadily declining. In the 1960s, the Manali Industrial Area and Ennore Thermal Power Station were set up encroaching on wetlands connected to the creek. The industrialisation and consequent degradation intensified starting in the 1970s with the setting up of  ETPS (1970s) NCTPS (1980s), KPL (2000) and the Vallur Thermal Power Plant about five years ago. In what would be the 4th addition to the already overburdened Ennore thermal power cluster, the commissioning of the Ennore Thermal Power Station Replacement will be yet another cut in the lives and livelihoods of thousands of fishermen living in the region.

Watch this space for more updates.

ETPS-Replacement PH

Breathing is Injurious to Health

Ennore is a densely populated, working class area of North Chennai – Chennai’s sacrificial lamb. This region is targeted with a disproportionate concentration of polluting industries – a garbage dump, coal-fired thermal power plants, chemical and petrochemical industries, ports, coal yards and fly-ash dykes. Ennore is both a site of vicious environmental discrimination, and the epicentre of a community struggle to end the discrimination, revive the Creek and restore fisher livelihoods.

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#UnmaskMyCity #ToxicTales #SaveEnnoreCreek

Dr. S. Killivalavan has been practicing in Kattukuppam since 1984. His is one of the few private medical clinics in the area and is always abuzz with patients. Fertiliser companies, coal-fired thermal power plants, a phosporic acid plant and heavy vehicle traffic to and from the two ports further north make this area an air pollution hotspot.

The doctor reports a stark increase in respiratory diseases. “Seventy percent of the cases I see are respiratory diseases. One could claim that the humidity in the area, because it’s so close to the sea, is causing respiratory disease and fungal infection – which also I see a lot – but I can certainly say that the high rate of respiratory disease is because of the air pollution,” he says. “Lots of people have left the area unable to manage medical expenses. How can one explain this?”

Sign Our Petition here : http://unmaskmycity.org/project/chennai/

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#UnmaskMyCity #ToxicTales #SaveEnnoreCreek

டாக்டர் எஸ். கிள்ளிவளவன் 1984 ம் ஆண்டிலிருந்து காட்டுக்குப்பம் பகுதியில் பயிற்சி செய்து வருகிறார். இவ்வூரில் தனியார் மருத்துவ மருந்தகங்கள் ஒரு சிலவே உள்ளன. டாக்டர் கிள்ளிவளவனவின் கிளினிக் அவைகளில் ஒன்றாகும். எப்பொழுதும் நோயாளிகளின் கூட்டம் அலைமோதும். இங்குள்ள உர நிறுவனங்கள், நிலக்கரி எரிக்கும் அனல் மின் நிலையங்கள், ஒரு ஃபாஸ்ஃபோரிக் அமில ஆலை மற்றும் கனரக வாகனங்களின் புகை இப்பகுதியை காற்று மாசுபாட்டை பொறுத்தவரை ஒரு ஹாட்ஸ்பாட்டாக (மாசு அளவுகள் மிக அதிகமாக உள்ள இடம்) மாற்றியுள்ளன.

இங்கு சுவாசம் சம்பந்தப்பட்ட நோய்கள் அதிகரித்துள்ளன என டாக்டர் கிள்ளிவளவன் தெரிவிக்கிறார். “என்னைப் பார்க்க வரும் நோயாளிகளில் 70% பேர் சுவாசம் சம்பந்தப்பட்ட நோய்களால் பாதிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளனர். இப்பகுதி கடலுக்கு சமீபத்தில் உள்ளதால், இங்குள்ள மிகுதியான ஈரப்பதமும் சுவாச நோய்கள் மற்றும் பூஞ்சை தொற்று நோய்க்கும் – இப்பகுதியில் இதுவும் அதிகமாக பார்க்கிறேன்- ஒரு காரணமாக இருக்கலாம். ஆனால் இங்குள்ள காற்றின் மாசு தான் சுவாசம் சம்பந்தப்பட்ட நோய்களின் அதிகரிப்பிற்கு காரணம் என்று என்னால் கண்டிப்பாக சொல்ல முடியும்”, என்று டாக்டர் சொல்கிறார். “மருத்துவ செலவுகள் பெருகிய காரணத்தினால் நிறைய மக்கள் இப்பகுதியை விட்டே சென்று விட்டார்கள். இதை எவ்வாறு விளக்க முடியும்?”.

எண்ணூர், வட சென்னையில் உழைக்கும் வர்க்கத்தினர் அதிகமாக வாழும், மக்கள் தொகை அடர்த்தி அதிகமுள்ள ஒரு பகுதி – சென்னையின் பலியாடு. நகரத்தின் வேறு பகுதிகளை ஒப்பிட்டு பார்த்தால், இப்பகுதியில் மட்டும் மாசு விளைவிக்கும் பல தொழிற்சாலைகள் அளவுக்கு அதிகமாகவே உள்ளன – ஓரு குப்பை கிடங்கு, அனல் மின் நிலையங்கள், இரசாயன மற்றும் பெட்ரோ கெமிக்கல் தொழிற்சாலைகள், துறைமுகங்கள், நிலக்கரி கிடங்குகள் மற்றும் நிலக்கரி சாம்பல் செயற்கரைகள். சுற்றுச்சூழலை பொறுத்தவரை உள்ள இந்த பாரபட்சத்தை எண்ணூரில் நேரடியாக காணலாம். ஆனால் இந்த ஊர், இந்த பாகுபாட்டின் ஒரு கோடூரமான எடுத்துக்காட்டாக மட்டும் விளங்காமல், இந்த பாரபட்சத்தை முடிவு கட்டவும், க்ரீக்கை புதுப்பிக்கவும், மீனவ வாழ்வாதாரத்தை மீட்பதற்கும் நடக்கும் ஒரு சமூகத்தின் போராட்டத்திற்கு ஒரு மையப்புள்ளியாகவும் விளங்குகிறது.

இங்கே எங்கள் மனுவில் கையெழுத்திடுங்கள் : http://unmaskmycity.org/project/chennai/ 

Press Release: Scientific Body’s High Tide Line for TN Wrongly Drawn to Create Real Estate: Coastal Activists

The Coastal Resource Centre

Chennai: Nearly 900 acres of tidal wetlands in two locations have been wrongly identified as land by the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) which got a multi-crore contract to demarcate the High Tide Line for Tamil Nadu under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011. This and other inconsistencies were revealed during a ground truthing exercise conducted by the Coastal Resource Centre (CRC). The erroneous demarcation shortchanges fisherfolk by showing tidal waterbodies as developable real estate.

The inconsistencies cast a shadow on NCSCM’s demarcation exercise and the robustness of the verification process by the State and Central Coastal Zone Management Agencies, CRC said. NCSCM’s High Tide Line cannot be relied upon for preparing the State Coastal Zone Management Plans.

NCSCM had denied access to these maps under RTI claiming that disclosure would prejudicially affect their scientific and economic interests. The maps were later accessed through the State Coastal…

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NCTPS is Worsening Water Scarcity, Heat Wave: Ennore Fishers

Chennai. 28 March, 2017 — Pointing to the illegal clearing of more than 50 acres of dense forests that served as a greenbelt for the North Chennai Thermal Power Station’s Stage I and II plants, Ennore fisherfolk and city-based environmentalists have blamed TANGEDCO for worsening the water crisis and the heat wave-like conditions in Ennore. An additional 140 acres of forests will have to be cleared for the project. Sources in Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board have confirmed that TANGEDCO has not obtained the mandatory Consent to Establish under the Air and Water Acts for the ongoing work.

TANGEDCO has also dumped debris and tree stumps from the civil works into the Ennore Creek in front of its main gate. Ennore fisherfolk who have been actively pushing the Government to recognise the importance of restoring and protecting the Ennore Creek are disappointed at the Government’s lackadaisical response.

“The Creek is not just a source of livelihood for us. It is an important component of Chennai’s infrastructure for flood protection and water security. The government should declare the Creek and its associated wetlands as a protected water sanctuary,” said D. Selvaraj, a fisher elder from Kattukuppam.

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A view of the NCTPS Complex 

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Deforested areas of the NCTPS Complex 

The trees are the only barrier between the power plant’s coal stacking yard and the densely populated and heavily polluted Ennore region. Ennore villagers have asked the government to ensure that the lost trees should be replaced, and no more trees should be felled from the Greenbelt.

NCTPS’ coal-fired thermal power plant is located at the southern end of Kattupalli – a barrier island characterised by vegetated and stable sand dunes. The tree-covered dunes store rainwater which acts as a protective barrier against salinity intrusion into the inland aquifers. The aquifers of the Araniyar Kosasthalaiyar Basin are an important source of water for Chennai city, as Metrowater pumps more than 100 MLD of groundwater from its water works in Panjeti, Thamaraipakkam and other villages.

By denuding the tree cover, flattening the dunes and constructing paved concrete structures, TANGEDCO is not only heating up the microclimate but also exposing the city’s groundwater sources to the risk of salinity intrusion.

NCTPS Before

NCTPS Complex before illegal expansion 

NCTPS After

NCTPS Complex after expansion works have begun 

NCTPS - Project Area & Boundary

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TANGEDCO began felling the trees in August 2016. TNPCB has failed to act on repeated complaints pointing to the illegal felling and the lack of Consent to Establish. Information obtained under Right to Information Act confirms that the work has begun without the statutory license from TNPCB.

 

A petition challenging the Environmental Clearance given to the project is currently pending in the National Green Tribunal.

For more information, contact: R.L. Srinivasan, Kattukuppam – 9884280891; Pooja Kumar- 9791122180

Chennai oil spill: Doctors warn of serious health issues, including cancer, for clean-up crew

Chennai oil spill: Environment Ministry to issue show cause notice to Kamarajar port

New Delhi: The nightmare involving the Chennai oil spill seems to get even frightening and upsetting with medical doctors issuing warnings about serious health hazards on those who helped clean the toxic sludge following the collision between two ships last month.

As per reports, a team of doctors and members of the Healthy Energy Initiative, India, has urged the government to continuously assess the health of all those involved in the clean-up operation, including the crew, fisherfolk and residents.

In its report on the health impact of oil spill, the fact-finding team said that it found a number of workers and residents complaining of various health issues, including skin, eye and throat irritation, tightness in the chest, cough, headaches, nausea and vomiting. Continue reading

Health concerns raised after Ennore oil spill

In the aftermath of the Ennore oil spill, a fact-finding report revealed that the health of those deployed for the clean-up operations, fishermen and residents, has been compromised due to handling the hazardous sludge without proper protective gear.

Chennai oil spill could cause health issues for clean-up volunteers, even cancer, says medical team

 Eye-irritation and respiratory symptoms were some of the immediate effects reported following the oil-spill

Photo : The News Minute 

CHENNAI: Three weeks after the massive oil spill cause by the collision of two ships near Kamarajar Port, a team of medical doctors have warned that those who helped clean the toxic sludge may suffer from serious health problems.

A fact-finding team, which included three doctors, met more than 50 people, who helped in the clean-up operations on February 7, 2017. “We came to know that many volunteers were participating in the oil clean-up process so we wanted to find out if there were appropriate steps taken for the safety of the volunteers,” said Dr Shruthee SG, a member of the fact-finding team.

“The clean-up workers and the fishermen reported increased acute toxic systems primarily that of eye-irritation and respiratory symptoms like throat irritation chest tightness and cough, mainly on the first two days after the oil spill,” said Dr Shruthee.

In the long-term, she warned that the chemicals in the oil could lead to cancer. “The most commonly occurring chemicals in the oil include Benzene, Toluene and Xylene (BTX). BTX are carcinogenic in human beings. Benzene is known to cause leukemia in humans, toluene can cause kidney and liver damage, and exposure to Xylene can lead to visual blurring, tremors, heart beat irregularities, paralysis,” observed Dr Amaran M, another member of the fact-finding team. Continue reading

Doctors warn of health hazards for workers cleaning up oil spill

 Those engaged in the clean-up without protective gear have higher chances of being afflicted by cancer, a report said
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Those engaged in the clean up without protective gear have higher chances of contracting cancer: Report
  • The team comprising three physicians had conducted a field study at Bharathi Nagar
  • Those engaged in the clean-up without protective gear have higher chances of being afflicted by cancer, a report said

CHENNAI: Raising an alarm over the hazards faced by workers involved in the massive clean-up operations following last month’s oil spill in the city, a fact-finding team has urged the government to closely monitor their health. The team released its report on Tuesday amid criticism over manual removal of toxic sludge from the seashore using buckets after the collision of two ships outside the harbour of the Kamarajar Port in Ennore on January 28.

The team comprising three physicians had conducted a field study at Bharathi Nagar, a hamlet in the vicinity of the oil spill on Ennore Expressway, on February 7. Those engaged in the clean-up operations without protective gear have higher chances of contracting cancer and health issues relating to the liver and kidney, said the report.

“Fire and rescue service personnel were not provided with safety gear on par with the Indian Coast Guard… Initially, local fishermen had suffered short-term effects such as irritation in eyes and respiratory problems on the first day of the spill,” said Amaran, a member of the team. Considering the health impact, the fishermen community, particularly children, must be assessed continuously during frequent intervals, besides the workers engaged in the clean-up, he added. Continue reading

Spill clean-up workers exposed to long-term health risks

CHENNAI: The State government lacks a database of workers who were involved in cleaning up the spill, thus putting them at a greater long-term health risk as they have engaged themselves without any protective gear, warns a fact-finding report prepared by doctors.

The report, ‘Oil Spill in Chennai: fact-finding report on health impacts on clean-up workers, fisherfolk and residents in Ennore,’ charges the government with failing to come out with guidelines on how to clear the spill, which exposed many to carcinogenic chemicals like benzene, toluene and xylene.

The report, prepared by three doctors Dr S Sudarshini, Dr Shruthee SG and Dr M Amaran under the guidance of Dr Rakhal Gaitonde, senior scientist, Centre for Technology and Policy, IIT-Madras, highlighted how there has been little information on the nature of spill, petroleum oil and its derivatives that have toxic chemicals which cause damage to human health. Continue reading