Pollution on rise in Visakhapatnam

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Visakhapatnam, Nov 4 (UNI) Visakhapatnam, the industrial capital of Andhra Pradesh which has several laudatory sobriquets to its name, may soon earn the dubious distinction of being the most polluted city in the state, if the growing pollution levels are any indication.

Speaking on the problem, Andhra Pradesh Deputy Transport Commissioner S Venkateswara Rao told UNI that the number of vehicles plying in the city was growing alarmingly evey year.

Till December 31, 2005, there were 2.98 lakh vehicles plying on the city roads, while 31,000 new ones were added during 2006 and 43,000 in 2007, he added.

The number of vehicles on roads was 4.20 Lakh at the end of October this year. A total of 55,000 were added in the first ten months this year, he said.

Stating that cutting down trees to pave way for new industries like SEZ, Brandix and IT Companies, has made the situation more grave, he said city's characteristic topography could also be held responsible for the growing pollution.

An environmentalist, who did not want to be identified, however, said striking a balance between environment and development was the key to minimising pollution, if not eliminating it all together.

He said though one can not ignore the benefits of industrial development, haphazard industrialisation with some safeguards might spell disaster to the environment.

The best way to safeguard the environment from the effect of pollution was to go for green cover, green technologies and massive afforestation programmes, he said, adding felling old trees should be avoided and green power generation like hyderoelectric projects should used instead of thermal projects.

UNI BSR ATI BST1904

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