CHENNAI: Life has become a nightmare for residents of north Chennai due to frequent toxic gas leakage from industrial units located in the northern part of the city. Residents in Manali and Ennore lament over several health issues they’ve been facing for the past few years, as the pollution control measures by the State has failed to bring respite.
The situation is so dire that healthcare centres are witnessing a sharp increase in patients with breathing difficulties and lung-related ailments especially among children and senior citizens. Residents are worried that constant inhaling of toxic ammonia gas may lead to carcinogenic infections.
According to medical sources with Stanely Government Hospital there is a steady increase in the number of patients visiting the pulmonology department after COVID lockdowns were relaxed.
“There’s a steady increase in asthma, wheezing and lung-related infections and most residents who visit Stanley are from north Chennai and its suburbs,” a senior medical officer said. When asked about the incidence of children getting affected, the officer clarified, “There’s a slight increase in infections due to poor air quality but the situation is not alarming enough to force us into document the data.”
Residents fume that industries are not following norms issued by the concerned department. “Even the government is not inspecting it after multiple complaints filed against these industries. We’re suffering from cough and breathing difficulty, because we inhale the toxic gas,” rues S Vijay, a resident of Thalankuppam, Ennore.
Recently, two men with lung cancer died. “Several residents are having similar symptoms, which is incurable due to pollution and inhaling the gas 24-7,” adds Vijay.
For over a decade, the substance of Sulphur compound has been released from industries. Thus, patients with skin allergies and lung infections have increased in the local private clinics. Worst-affected are those above 50 years and children below 5 years.
“In July, when there was sudden emission of toxic gas in Manali, residents rushed to the hospital late in the night for eye irritation and cough, says a doctor at a private hospital in Tiruvottiyur.”
People immediately reported to the nearby private clinics, as the city corporation primary healthcare clinics lack facilities in providing emergency care.