The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (PCB) has issued a notice to the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), after complaints from locals in the city's old town area.
The Times of India reported that the notice was sent after a board meeting, where the PCB also decided to ask the King George Hospital (KGH) in the city to provide details of the prevalence of respiratory diseases in the area.
"The board received complaints from residents of Chilakapeta in Vishakapatnam against air pollution caused due to the activities of VPT...The committee of PCB that met last fortnight discussed the issues relating to coverage of all stockyards of dusty cargos with tarpaulin, an action plan for the refurbishing of all existing mechanical dusty suppression systems," said R Lakshmi Narayana, Vizag PCB's regional environmental engineer, told ToI.
In March this year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the VPT and the PCB to immediately check air pollution and take steps to curb it, by the end of 2018.
For a few years now, areas around the port from Town Hall street to Soldierpet and Kothaveedhi have complained of severe dust pollution, but to no avail.
The problem began with major industries like the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), HPCL and Visakhapatnam Steel Plant spewing noxious fumes, which led to a layer of iron ore dust hanging in the air.
Things became worse when the VPT expanded and established its General Cargo Berth (GCB), thereby adding coal and sulphur to the air above the area.
According to activists, a lot of pollution was because the trade employed smaller operators and manual workers to handle the coal for decades.
Things have improved slightly for the locals, mainly due to the construction of a large wall around the dusty cargo handling areas and sprinkling the coal with water, to prevent it from flying.
However, the pollution still persists.