Staying in tune with the Shipping Ministry’s decision to keep the major ports in the country running for clearing cargo by declaring it an essential service amid lockdown, Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is continuously making its loading and unloading operations of dry bulk cargo.
VPT has taken up uninterrupted port operations, observing precautionary measures to contain coronavirus pandemic and also to minimise the pollution levels due to cargo handling at port.
In order to minimise dust, VPT has initiated mechanisation of coal handling through BOT/PPP operators. Under this, port has mechanised coal-handling systems at three terminals operated by Vizag seaports Ltd., Vedanta and Adani at an investment of about Rs 205 crore, Rs 650 crore and Rs 330 crore respectively.
The VPT is proposing to install mechanical dust suppression system (MDSS) at dusty cargo areas at a cost of Rs 7.73 crore.
The existing MDS system sprinkles water over the coal stacks at stack yards so that the Coal stacks are wet and the dust does not emit.
Further, VPT has taken up MDSS at other coal stack yards at a cost of about Rs 10 crore which is targeted to be completed by the end of July 2021. In order to reduce fugitive dust, agents are covering the coal stacks with tarpaulins.
Most of the green cover was damaged due to severe cyclonic storm Hudhud in 2014. To compensate the lost greenery, 5.65 lakh plants allotted to VPT under Green Visakha by the District Administration.
VPT has already planted about 4.62 lakh of plants and about 1.02 lakh plantation will be taken up at a cost of Rs 384 crore during 2020-21. According to the recent analysis made to monitor the air quality at Kotaveedhi, particulate matter (PM) 10 is 49.55 ug/m3 in April, 2020 against 71.44 ug/m3 recorded in 2019.
When it comes to PM 2.5, the station recorded 16.15 ug/m3 in April 2020 compared to 31.62 ug/m3 recorded last year. Similarly, at Gnanapuram station, PM 10 is 67.99 ug/m3 in April, 2020 compared to 75.83 ug/m3 registered last year.
When it comes to PM 2.5, the station recorded 21.69 ug/m3 in April, 2020 against 31.84 ug/m3 recorded in 2019. From the above, it can be seen that in spite of continuous port operations in April -2020 (lockdown period), the air quality values are very well below the standards and during April-2019, the values are little high.
In addition, VPT is proposing to construct covered storage sheds to avoid dust emissions from the stacks as a part of continual improvement in environment aspects.
VPT proposed to procure additional machineries like fog machines, sweeping machines, JCB for cleaning of roads and drainage systems.