Skin diseases breakout among children in Norochcholai: No evidence of link with power plant -Health Services DG | Sunday Observer

Skin diseases breakout among children in Norochcholai: No evidence of link with power plant -Health Services DG

File Pic: Lake House Media Library
File Pic: Lake House Media Library

A link between the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant and the contraction of skin diseases by the children in the vicinity of the power plant, is yet to be established, Director General of Health Services, Dr Jayasundara Bandara, said yesterday.

“The Regional Epidemiologist in Puttalam has already conducted a skin clinic and has found no evidence of a public health issue. At present, no scientific evidence has been established to indicate an association between the power plant and the isolated cases of skin diseases,” he said.

The comments were made in relation to media reports on several children, living within close proximity to the power plant, contracting skin diseases. Media reports further said that adults in the area are prone to respiratory ailments.

Dr. Bandara said that he has requested an interim report be submitted on the matter. “If further investigations reveal a link between these two parameters, the Health Ministry will conduct discussions with the authorities at the Coal Power Plant, to decide on a course of action,” he said.

Meanwhile, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), Director General, Damitha Kumarasinghe said that a committee of experts was appointed a year ago, to conduct a comprehensive study on the environmental issues of the Power Plant.

“Currently, the committee is in the final stage of the study, and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. After the study is completed, they have to present any risks identified, plans and strategies to mitigate these risks,” he said.

Kumarasinghe further said that if risks are identified, then the PUCSL, along with environment authorities, will provide regulatory mechanisms, in line with the powers vested on the PUCSL by Sri Lanka Electricity Act.

Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, media spokesperson, Sulakshana Jayawardena said that there was an issue regarding the spread of the coal dust during the windy season.

“There is a plan to install a wind barrier, which would reduce the wind speed and minimise the spread of dust to nearby areas. This is currently in the procurement stage. Ash collected as a byproduct of the power generation process will be collected and provided to cement manufacturers as raw material,” he said.

Jayawardena further disclosed plans to expand the buffer zone of the power plant by purchasing lands in the vicinity.

Expert committee report on environmental issues of Norochcholai power plant to be finalised by the end of the year.

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