Piling coal in Thampalakamam said cause of pollution

[TamilNet, Monday, 03 November 2003, 17:42 GMT]
Many thousand metric tons of coal unloaded at the Trincomalee harbor and piled on a plot of land located in a residential area at Thampalakamam, a Tamil village about 24 km west of the Trincomalee town, before being taken to the Puttalam cement factory, has caused environmental problems to the residents of the village and crops, said Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian for Trincomalee, Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham, in a letter faxed to Environment and Natural Resources Minister, Mr.Rukman Senanayake, Monday.

Coal used by the Puttalam cement factory is unloaded at the Ashraff jetty of the Trincomalee harbor regularly and taken to Puttalam by lorries via the Trincomalee-Colombo highway. The unloaded coal is piled in the Ashraff jetty itself till lorries arrive at the site.

But recently, as a result of opposition by the harbor workers citing environmental pollution, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority asked the management of the Puttalam cement factory to remove the coal immediately from the port premises. In response, the factory management now removes coal from the jetty and piles it on private land at Thampalakamam till enough lorries are hired to remove the coal to Puttalam.

Residents and farmers of Thampalakamam and its suburbs have complained that the coal piled on a plot of land at the village has caused severe environmental pollution in the area and health hazard to the civilian population there.

Not only are the air and water polluted by the coal dust, but the paddy crops and other plantations in the neighborhood are also damaged by the settlement of coal dust, Mr.Thurairetasingham said in the letter to the minister.

The MP has asked the minister to take immediate steps to stop piling coal in residential areas in Trincomalee and to order the authorities to take the consignment of coal straight from Trincomalee harbour to Puttalam cement factory.


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