Who is Sterlite?
Sterlite Copper, The smelter, which can produce 400,000 tonnes of copper cathode a year, is run by Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper unit, which is controlled by Vedanta Ltd, a majority-owned subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta.
How the pollution happens?
There are 2 important by products of Copper smelting. They are
- SO2 – Sulphur di Oxide – a toxic gas
- Arsenic – a highly dangerous , cancer generating element
When SO2 level increases 5ppm ( 5 particles per million air particles in the air) it causes lung diseases, nausea, vomiting,skin diseases and eye diseases. But the level found in near by area is 1000ppm and more than that. Does it sound there is a foul play by letting the SO2 in the sky during night times ?
The next dangerous element of Copper smelting is As- Arsenic, which suppose to be 10ppb ( 10 parts per billion air particles). But the test levels show 100.200…300 ppb. Which is very likely to kill the people around and making a dessert!. The high level of Arsenic will create problems in kidney and digestive parts and will end up in creating cancers. Even the plants / vegetables are susceptible to be affected and thus getting into the human body upon eating those vegetables.
Why people are against the company?
The district has been witnessing several protests by locals and others against the plant and its proposed expansion. Protesters have alleged that the smelter was polluting ground water in their area. An activist group has accused pollution board of allowing the company to operate its smelter with shorter chimney stacks than permitted which helped the company reduce costs but harmed the environment.