Breathe easy: Water sprayed on Marine Drive on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Corporate common sense has won the day for the animal kingdom.
The prized animals at Tata Steel Zoological Park, Jamshedpur, who were inhaling air heavy with cement dust due to the Marine Drive widening work close by, are breathing better, thanks to a simple solution.
Alerted by Tata zoo on the dangers of air pollution, Tata Steel’s engineering wing instructed two vendors in charge of the Rs 120-crore project to spray water and prevent cement dust clouds from forming.
A part of the 9.5km stretch, a component of Tata Steel’s western corridor project, runs along the zoo boundary wall, very near lion, tiger, leopard, langur, sloth bears, emu and ostrich enclosures.
Prakash Asphaltings & Toll Highways (India) Ltd and BLA Group, executing the Marine Drive project, sprayed water on stretches closest to the zoo late on Monday night.
Unlike earlier days, the clouds of dust were missing on Tuesday morning. “Yes, the air was much purer. There was a visible difference,” Tata zoo director Bipul Chakravarty said.
On February 2, The Telegraph carried a report on the dangers of air pollution to Tata zoo animals due to dust kicked up by the widening work (Dust distress for Tata’s pretty zoo).
A source said Tata Steel swung into action to shield zoo animals from dust once The Telegraph report came out.
The danger of respiratory diseases for rare pure-bred African lions, Royal Bengal tigers and others is very real. Their lungs are not designed to process dusty air.
On the plan to shift the rare species to the verdant green Safari Park inside zoo premises, reported by The Telegraph on February 4, Chakravarty said: “We are serious about the shift because air and sound pollution would prevail near the Marine Drive even after its construction work is over, simply because traffic will multiply on the four lanes.”
He added shifting the prized species away from areas near the freeway to the seven-acre deer park was a long-term solution. Modalities of the process are underway. “We have to obey all Central Zoo Authority norms,” he stressed.
For now, however, watering will be a regular affair.
“Watering will continue till the project is over. It is likely to take three months more,” a Tata Steel executive added.
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