Hyderabad: Winter is coming and worries are more. Residents who live near industrial areas are concerned the foul smell emanating from the industries in their areas which lasts for a few minutes to even hours, will become more intense.
Since decades, successive generations of residents are complaining of foul smell emanating from industrial units but the situation is seeing little improvement. While it’s a round-the-year problem, it turns worse in winter as industrial emissions can’t disperse due to a weather phenomenon called “inversion”, making the stench unbearable.
Moreover, reactions of chemical compounds in the atmosphere also decrease in winter as a result of which the emissions stay suspended in the air for longer periods.
Complaint forums on the Internet are flooded with posts of residents on the foul smell. The Facebook page of the Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB), for one, is filled with such messages from resident.
One Facebook user, Ajay Gupta, complaining of foul smell near Jeedimetla bus depot, writes, “So much stingy and ammonia-like odour, emitted by some loose chemical... Companies near Jeedimetla bus depot. These companies shutting mouth of pcb officials. Is there an officer working for us in PCB? Can he visit this area 7 to 12 pm to taste the smelly air? Worst air quality in the world, Jai ho TS PCB, sleep (sic).”
Another user, Dev Saha, writes, “The air near Chandanagar and Miyapur is becoming heavily polluted and unbreathable. Some factories nearby are emitting harmful gas and the air smells bad. Kindly check the situation before people start falling sick.”
Kazipally, Bollarum, Patancheru, Pashamylaram and Uppal are industrial areas that have many big and small pharmaceutical companies, from where foul smell emanates and spreads for kilometers. In fact, many a time, when Kukatpally residents complained of foul smell, the source was traced to Kazipally IDA, some 15 km away.
Sulphides main reason for smell
Sulphur compounds in the form of sulphides and low volatile amines from ammonia are the major reason behind foul smell emanating from industrial areas.
The only reason that these gaseous emissions spread in the city’s atmosphere is that industries do not follow green laws and fail to adhere to guidelines issued by the central and state pollution control boards.
The main culprits are the bulk drug and chemical companies. Sometimes, owners of manufacturing plants do not let the gases emitted through chemical processes in plants pass through the condenser, which separates harmful pollutants. The reason is it takes a few hours to do so. They, instead, keep the condenser open and let the gases pass directly through vents, which takes less time but spreads harmful gases in the atmosphere.
Sometimes, the process takes just a few minutes. Most plants do this. No plant owner in an industrial area complains to PCB. Another reason is that many companies do not spend money to maintain or upgrade the equipment required for pollution control, like having scrubbers.
GHMC is another major city polluter. It lets out untreated sewage water into water bodies. The sulphates that get into sewage water through detergents and soaps are converted to Hydrogen Sulphide, which also releases a terrible stench.