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Pollution threat to greenery

GREEN WORRY: Burnt foliage of tress in Paradip on Thursday. Telegraph picture

Paradip: Tree cover spread around Paradip golf course area wears an emaciated look with black and burnt patches appearing on the leaves.

The State Pollution Control Board is working to ascertain the exact cause of the burn marks on the leaves.

Activists have charged that trees are bearing the brunt of pollution perpetrated by the oil refinery unit and a fertilizer plant.

There are ample signs of trees suffering from wear and tear due to pollution. The leaves of the trees and shrubs show signs of burning. It may be due to acidic residue, said Paradip regional officer of the State Pollution Control Board Mukesh Mahaling.

The green cover spread across 150sqft area has been affected by pollution. Its impact is localised in nature. The standing trees in other areas of the port township were not affected by the pollution, he said.

The affected leaves of the plants and trees have been sent to the SPCB laboratory in Bhubaneswar for scientific tests. We also have a laboratory at our Paradip office. Nothing conclusive have emerged so far from the test done here, said an SPCB official.

A conveyor belt carrying sulphur from the port to the fertilizer plant in liquefied form passes through the area. Leakage from the conveyor might have led to the sprinkling of liquefied sulphur on the trees, said the official.

People living in the neighbourhood have levelled allegations that emissions in the air either from the oil refinery or the fertilizer plant has adversely affected the trees.

"Unless the authorities move to curb this trend, entire tree cover in Paradip will be wiped out sooner or later," said environment activist Sanjay Kumar Pradhan.

The oil refinery authorities, however, claimed it had nothing to do with the damage caused to the trees in the port town.

The oil company has put in place a foolproof pollution control mechanism. Ambient air quality is being maintained round the clock, said Manjushree Singh, senior manager, administration and welfare. The fertilizer plant authorities were not available for comments.

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