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Visakhapatnam Port, India


Port of Visakhapatnam is one of the leading major ports of India. The ongoing modernisation of the Visakhapatnam Port creates heavy pollution in the city. The open handling of coal and mineral ores used to raise a lot of dust posing a health hazard to the residents not only in the area but also to the entire city. Two years ago gale winds spread the coal dust across the city. Citizens staged a number of protests demanding that the port put a stop to open handling of coal and ore.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Visakhapatnam Port, India
State or province:Andhra Pradesh
Location of conflict:Visakhapatnam
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral processing
Mineral ore exploration
Oil and gas exploration and extraction
E-waste and other waste import zones
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Coal
Industrial waste
Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project details

M/s. Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Visakhapatnam was established during 1933 in the east coast of Andhra Pradesh and handles different types of cargoes in different forms. The Port has three harbours viz., outer harbour, inner harbour and the fishing harbour.

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Project area:300
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:2000
Company names or state enterprises:Visakhapatnam Port Trust
Relevant government actors:A.P. Pollution Control Board
International and Finance InstitutionsJapan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC) from Japan
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Chaitanya Sravanthi,, Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Council (APHRC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), YSR Congress Party (YSRCP)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Visakhapatnam based the Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Council (APHRC) has filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) here seeking action against the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) for causing pollution in Vizag city by storing iron ore, coking coal, sulphur etc., in open yards.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Waste overflow
Potential: Soil contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:1) Mobilizers are demanding immediate measures to control the pollution.
2) To organise immediate medical helps for the people
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:An Environmental Monitoring Committee (EMC) headed by renowned Environmentalist Prof. S. Rama Krishna Rao as Chairman of the Committee is in place with members representing Citizen Welfare Associations, NGOs, Academic Institutions, Industries/Defense, Trade, Observers from APPCB, Government Organisations and Senior Officers of the Port. The Committee reviews the implementation of long term and short term directives issued by APPCB and also reviews the environmental activities to be implemented by the Port. The Committee also inspects various operational areas of the Port and advises improvements on the Environmental activities carried out and gives suggestions for additional Environmental pollution mitigative measures as may be necessary based on the requirements from time to time.
Three Sub-Committees are constituted to review and monitor AAQ (Ambient Air Quality), Green Belt Development and Hazard Management. The EMC reviews the findings of the Sub-Committees and advises suitably on the environmental improvement measures.
Environmental cell has been established to monitor the environmental activieies of the Port, duly appointing persons qualified in the field of Environment Management.
The measures taken by the Port to mitigate Environmental Pollution include:
• Monitoring of Ambient Air Quality at six locations in and around the Port area by Port and third parties like Andhra University Development Center and APPCB.
• Monitoring of harbour water quality at regular intervals through Andhra University Development Center.
• Monitoring of STP waters before and after treatment at regular intervals.
• Regular monitoring of pollution control measures in and around Port area and residential areas.
• Preparation of Environmental Management Action Plan and Comprehensive Environmental zoning and land use plan for all occupied and unoccupied areas for the next ten years through M/s. MECON, Ranchi.
• Distribution of pamphlets and display of message boards on Environment Management.
• Development of Environmental Parks/ Nurseries and maintenance of Islands in and around Port areas.
• Continuous development of Green Belt in and around Port area.
• Mechanisation of Cargo Handling Operations in phases.
• Monitoring effluent of Port based industries before discharging into Port Waters and ensuring that they posses consent of APPCB for their activities.
The Port is taking all possible measures to contain the pollution and the maintain the ambient air quality within permissible limits. In addition to the above measures, the Port is (i)modernizing the cargo handling facilities for coal, iron ore, fertilizers etc., (ii) re organizing stack yards (iii) insulating coal stack yards by providing high rise walls along with dust suppression system as long term measure to avoid dust pollution.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict



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References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries


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Environment Management Port of Vishakapattnam
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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Environment Management Port of Vishakapattnam
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Women protest against pollution caused by port
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The Hindu, Pollution: complaint against Vizag port trust in NHRC
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The Hindu, Hope on the horizon for the pollution-hit
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Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update08/04/2014
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