Shaziya Khanam

Baramulla, August 11: Residents of Uri, clogged with air and noise pollution linked to gypsum extraction in their neighborhood, today demanded immediate action by the government against violators.

Reports said ,”Uri is a town in Baramulla which is surrounded by the mountains that are excellent sources for gypsum mining.”

“We are facing a grave problem of air pollution with gypsum dust and the mining processes have environmental repercussions and health hazards for the village residents ,” said Aiyaz Farooq, a social activist from Bagna.

“We suffer from chest-related disorders due to the dust emanating while gypsum is extracted and due to subsequent transportation,” said another resident Liyaqat Ali.

“A number of people already have disorders related to dust. We have learnt that T.B cases are on increase in our area,” Aiyaz Farooq.

“In the beginning the pollution was limited to certain areas in the vicinity where extraction processes were carried.Now you can see dust all over the region which continues to pose threat to the residents,” he added.

“Backbone of our economy is walnut and due to pollution it is completely destroyed,” said another resident.

“Very heavy machinery is used for the extraction, creating loud sounds. Heavy trucks used to ferry the gypsum adds to it. Peace in our lives has been taken away , see the condition of roads,” the residents said.

“There should be measures which take care of our genuine grievances. The government should repair the road and ensure water is spread on the roads on daily basis so dust does not spread,” locals of the residence said.

“There should be ban on extraction in the areas which are close to habitations and school. In fact, the school falls around 100 meters away from the lease location .Measures should be ensured so that forest are not affected.They also demanded that the grazing land should be kept free for livestock so that only source of income for many families is ensured in the long run.” they added.

“Gypsum mining can lead to destabilizing slopes that can lead to soil erosion.The water table also gets affected.Once the areas are mined, scars are left there, completely disrupting the landscape and it is visible even from a distance”, experts said.

The experts say while mining can’t be stopped altogether , it ought to be regulated in the scientific, technical and legal manner to ensure minimum soil erosion, less health hazards and to preventing the pollution.