A Technical Report on the problems caused by pollution allegedly from the coal-based 1,200 MW thermal power plant of Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL) at Yellur and its surrounding villages by two experts T.V. Ramachandra and Y.B. Ramakrishna was released by Visvesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Math at a press conference here on Wednesday.
While Dr. Ramachandra is from the Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre of Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Mr. Ramakrishna is the Executive Chairman, Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board. Visvesha Tirtha Swami had asked these two experts in January this year to submit an independent report after they were dropped from the government-appointed expert committee to look into the pollution caused allegedly by UPCL.
This technical report is based on detailed field investigation (water, soil, biotic elements) and interaction with the local people. A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, conducted a detailed scientific assessment of the environmental conditions of the region from August to November 2011, which is deliberated in the report. The other members of the team were Gautham Krishnadas, Sudarshan P. Bhat, Durga Madhab Mahapatra and Bharath H. Aithal from IISc, Bangalore.
In its executive summary, the report gives a graphic picture of problems caused by pollution from the thermal power plant in Yellur (including Kolachur), Nandikur, Nadsal (including Tenka Yermal), Bada, Padebettu, Santhur, Palimar, Karnire and Hejmady villages.
The report states that there was contamination of water (surface and ground), soil and air apart from the impaired functional aspects of biotic elements. This was evident from reduced productivity (grains, jasmine flowers, coconut, arecanut and livestock — milk), reproductive ability (livestock, poultry animals).
Deposition of dust with toxicants in floral parts of the vegetation had reduced phyto-toxicity leading to poor pollination and hence reduced productivity. Reduced population of pollinators (bees) had been reported in these villages due to degradation of environment.
Field investigation had revealed stunted growth of saplings (evident in the power plant's green belt), drying up of leaves, corrosion of metals and resultant damage to tin roofs, dish antennas, transmission lines, railway tracks, fencing of the power plant boundary, enhanced respiratory diseases, non-palatable grass (livestock refrain from feeding on grass). This was due to deposition of supersaturated saline mist on soil and foliage.
Along with field observations with causal factors, the report gives mitigation measures.
Keywords: thermal power plant