After TANGEDCO acquired farmlands and salt farms for the construction of an ash pond near my village (Seppakkam Village, Thiruvallur District, Tamilnadu), we, the residents of Seppakkam have witnessed a dramatic transformation to the landscape.
Large parts of the residential area is now perpetually inundated by coal ash dust and ash slurry leakages from the pipelines. The village was very nice until the coal ash pond construction started. Later on, the coal ash started coming into the village. Earlier we used to farm on this land but now we are not able to grow a single plant because of the impure soil. We used to grow crops here and use the produced crops for consumption. But now the entire cultivable land has turned into coal ashpond.
I get breathlessness regularly and my two children (boys) fall sick frequently because of the pollution in the village. Often their eyes become reddened with irritation and they get skin allergies on hands and legs. Almost every month we visit a doctor because of our ailments.
The trucks carrying fly ash from the coal ash pond originates from here and these trucks pass by our village round the clock resulting in constant dust pollution.
We are poor but we need clean air and good health for our children too. We need justice!
Coal dust from coal conveyor belts enters into our houses and we eat foods laced with the dust.
Mother from India
In Kattukuppam, even if we talk continuously for two minutes we’ll get suffocated due to the air pollution caused by these factories.
Mother from United Kingdom
It’s very hilly in Bath and there are no bike lanes, so cycling or scooting to school is not easy or safe. We live close enough to my children’s school that we can walk, but most other parents have to drive: there’s no designated school bus, nor is there a safe drop off point away from school.
Because of COVID, parents have been asked to drive right up to the front door and drop the kids there (without parking). This usually means a long queue of cars waiting to drop off or pick up their children, usually with the engines on.
The streets outside the school are very narrow with high walls, which trap pollution. Big SUV’s churning out diesel career up them once the children have been dropped off or picked up. The poisonous smell worries me, but we have no choice except to walk in their fumes.
I know how bad this is for my children’s health. One of my daughters has asthma and she’s already been to hospital in an ambulance in the middle of the night because of a bad attack. If they breathe this terrible air twice a day every day they go to and from school, what does this mean for their growing bodies? How many more hospital visits might it mean?
There is even a clean air zone in Bath, but I walk in it most days: it stinks of diesel and is full of cars and traffic jams. I really can’t tell the difference from before we had it.
Imagine if the council could invest in designated bike lanes across the whole city, and subsidise long term rental (or purchase) of electric bikes so people didn’t have to drive to school any more. Or even if we had school buses like they do in the U.S. (electric of course!!!).
Mother from India
Living in a big city like Delhi has a lot of its own challenges. Our constant focus is on our tangible needs and demands, and we work tirelessly to fulfil these. Amidst this we forgo other essential needs of our lives like fresh air or water. Being a mother, I was worried about pollution in the city but felt helpless. A few years back, while reading an article I had a shocking revelation: I was aghast to know that just 2-3 miles away from our own house we have a factory emitting heavy toxins, by burning mixed waste - probably 24 X 7. It's a Waste – to – Energy (WTE) Plant. I was told we have three of these in the city.
The incinerator adds dioxins, furans and heavy metals to the regular fumes in the city. Furthermore, we noticed remains of the small black burnt ashes in our balconies coming from the WTE plant. It would not be wrong to assume the tinnier of these are actually entering our respiratory tracts. We are living in constant fear as we know of many people suffering with cancer, asthma or lung related disease in the vicinity.
As parents we are deeply concerned. We had to restrict the timings of our child from playing outside. Today I am worried, anxious and very angry looking at the state of affairs where due to lack of political will we are letting our child breathe bad and toxic air.
Mother from India
As Urnamedu village is located in close proximity to NCTPS’ coal flyash pond, the flyash particles being very fine particles, they easily get dispersed into the ambient air and contribute to PM2.5. Urnamedu residents are affected by the fly-ash originating from coal ash pond: "If we dry our clothes outside, the ash gets deposited on the clothes.