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Pallikaranai register high level of toxic fumes: Study

New Indian Press
Saturday December 3 2005

CHENNAI: The air near Pallikaranai Marshlands, one of the largest marsh lands in the city which also doubles as Chennai Corporationís dump yard, has at least 27 toxic chemicals, which poses a threat to public health, said a report released by an environment agency.

A report based on an analysis of air near an open municipal waste burning site in Pallikaranai Marsh, by the Community of Environmental Monitoring, during a programme of The Other Media, also said that the air around Pallikaranai had high presence of 3 carcinogenic substances, which could cause cancer in children.

"The air sample which was analysed for 69 volatile organic chemicals and 20 sulphur compounds found carcinogens like benzene, 1.3 - butadine and chloromethane at levels 34,782 times higher than considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). At least 15 out of 27 chemicals found at Pallikaranai air exceeded US EPA regulatory levels," the report said.

These chemicals, according to the report, affected the human bodyís central nervous system and respiratory system. "The immune and reproductive systems of children can be permanently damaged by chronic exposure to these chemicals. Benzene was more than 2,000 times higher than required safety levels", the report alleged.

Air sample for the analysis was taken from the Pallavaram-Perungudi Road, hardly 500 metres away from the Perungudi dumping ground. The sample was taken on September 28, using a special tedler bag. A bucket was used as a container for the bag and was sent to Columbia Analytical Services in Simi Valley, California for testing.

Highlighting these alarming findings, the environmental agency said, "The Municipal Solid Waste Act should be implemented to facilitate segregation of garbage. The government should seek solutions in segregation and progressive policies should be brought in".

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