Govt fails to implement order
SRINAGAR: Despite government order that construction material should be covered with tarpaulins during transportation, dealers transport building materials without proper cover, thus polluting the air.
To ensure that air quality remains unaffected from particulate matter like brick dust, cement dust and sand, the Jammu and Kashmir Government had enjoined upon all the stake holders to ensure all the building material is covered with tarpaulins during transportation. The government order said that violators’ vehicles shall be impounded by the traffic/police authorities.
But transporters find that the order has “no use”. Mushtaq Ahmad, a transporter at Pantha Chowk, said, “Government has issued the order which has no use. Tarpaulins cost 2000 rupees. Also, it wastes time. We don’t have to unload one truck. Drivers cannot waste their time for this practice. Its better authorities forget this issue and concentrates other important issue.”
“We have to unload material at night, how will people be infected at night. If they (government) are concerned about air pollution, then they must visit factories, which cause more pollution, and give orders to them,” said a transporter from Noor Bagh in Srinagar.
State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) says that dust particles – 2.5 microns and 10 microns in diameter – can cause serious health problems when inhaled over longer durations. “Of the two, PM 2.5 is particularly dangerous as it is small enough to penetrate the defenses of the body, and can directly enter the bloodstream,” an official at the SPCB said.
The dust that hangs in the air is proving a nuisance for people in urban areas, especially the Srinagar city. Health experts say several respiratory tract infections – from sneezing and runny nose to wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath – are caused by the particulate matter in the air, a lot of which comes from the transport of building material. It also causes redness and itchiness of eyes.
Daily commuting, many say, has become a challenge. “I have stopped using my motorbike for commuting because there is too much dust. My clothes would get dirty. My health also got a bit deteriorated. I contracted chest infection. So doctors advised me to stop using my motorbike,” said Waseem Ahmad, a resident of Pantha Chowk.
A class 12 student, Bisma Yaseen, said she has to wash her school uniform daily because of dust. “I wash it daily, it accumulates too much dust in a day that I can’t wear it the next day,” said Bisma Yaseen, a student at government school in Nawa Kadal.
Dr. Mohammad Saleem Khan, Head of the Department of Social and Prevented Medicine, told Kashmir Reader, “Dust problem is a year-long thing, it causes several allergies and affects people more if they have lung problems or diabetic problems.”