Environmental groups warn of toxic air pollution from Port City

Thursday, 1 March 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Skandha Gunasekara

The Peoples Movement against the Port City yesterday warned that the Port City would increase air pollution in Colombo by 30 times the globally accepted standard. 

Speaking at a seminar titled ‘The Colombo Port City – The Hidden Truth’, held at the Methodist College hall yesterday, ecologist Dr Ranil Senanayake said that Fine Particles PM 2.5 would reach levels 25 – 30 times  higher than what is internationally accepted. 

“Currently, PM 2.5 Fine Particles in the City of Colombo are at levels three times more than what is safe for humans. Once the Port City is built it would have a large number of high-rise buildings which would lead to the amount of PM 2.5 particles increasing to 25-30 times what is considered safe for humans,” Dr. Senanayake said. 

Elaborating further, he noted that these particles are caused by construction activities, vehicles pollution and industrial pollution. 

“Such an increase in PM 2.5 particles will definitely cause the raise the risk of getting respiratory diseases including lung cancer,” Dr. Senanayake added. Meanwhile environmental activist and Environmental Conservation Trust Director Sajeewa Chamikara said that the EIA carried out by the Government had warned that further evaluation of the environmental impacts of the Port City was needed. 

“We must put an end to the Port City project. We failed to stop it during the initial stages when it was commenced but now we must somehow convince authorities of its dangers,” Chamikara said. He asserted that how it was stopped or the financial repercussions of scrapping the Port City project did not matter, when one considered the long-term negative implications of the damages done to the environment and its negative effect on the people.