The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has urged the Union environment ministry not to give the nod to a proposal of Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) to enhance its coal handling capacity, pending the air ambient study of its surrounding areas, an official has said. The GSPCB and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay will undertake the study of the air ambient quality in Vasco town, where the MPT is located, after concerns were raised by locals over the pollution in the city due to the facility, he said. “The pollution control board wrote to the Ministry of Environment and Forest last Friday asking it not to grant an environmental clearance to MPT’s proposal to enhance the coal handling capacity and redevelopment of two of its berths, until the air quality study of Vasco town is completed,” GPSCB member secretary Lavinson Martins told PTI. He said IIT Bombay would undertake a year-long study of the air quality in Vasco. The study needs to be conducted before considering the projects for grant of environmental clearance, Martins said. The green activists had earlier raised concerns about coal dust causing pollution in the port city.
The study involves identification of emission sources, assessment of the extent of contribution of these sources on the ambient environment and other related aspects, another senior official of the GSPCB said. The pollution control board has already directed two major companies to reduce their coal handling capacity by 25 per cent at the MPT, due to the pollution in the area.