Pollution levels in the iron ore belts of Goa have dropped considerably after mining activity was banned in September last, bringing them within the permissible limits, according to data placed before the Legislative Assembly.

Citing the data measured till February, Environment Minister Alina Saldanha told the House yesterday that the pollution levels had shown a downward trend.

The Supreme Court had imposed an interim ban on mining activity in Goa in September last on a petition filed by a local NGO pointing to illegal mining.

The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has been measuring pollution levels in the mining belt at nine locations — Curchorem, Honda, Codli, Assanora, Bicholim, Amona, Usgao, Sangume and Tilamol.

“Air is monitored through the presence of particulate matter of 10 microns diameter (PM10) and PM2.5,” she said.

These particles are harmful as they can cause lung-related diseases.

The data tabled on the floor of the House reveals that PM10 was in the range of 77-80 micrograms per cubic metre, while the permissible limit is 100 micrograms per cubic metre.

The concentration of PM 2.5 in air stands between 15-40 micrograms per cubic metre, well within the permissible limit is 60 micrograms per cubic metre, Saldanha said.

Saldanha said the concentration of PM10 was above 100 in 2011 and above 200 the next year.

According to the State estimate, submitted earlier in the session, the livelihood of more than one lakh people was affected after mining was stopped.

Saldanha said her Ministry had received complaints regarding pollution caused by mining for over three years preceding the ban.

Earlier, the Goa Government in its reply tabled in the House admitted that there were no deaths in road accidents due to mining trucks since mining was stopped.

It said 61 people had died and 306 were injured in road accidents involving mining trucks during the three years preceding September 2012.

Courtesy: Business Line

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