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Biomax Fire Sends Pollution Levels in Port City Soaring

Even as a massive fire that broke out 48 hours ago at a biodiesel storage facility continued to rage on Thursday, the company, Bio-Max Fuels at the Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone in Duvvada, was in for more trouble.

The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) slapped a ban on the company's operations for causing environmental pollution. APPCB chairman G N Phani Kumar issued orders for rejection of the consent for operations (CFO) of the company and stoppage of production at the facility. The joint chief environmental engineer of Visakhapatnam Zone rejected the CFO submitted by the industry and issued orders to stop production.

According to an official release here on Thursday, the orders were issued after the joint chief environmental engineer and the APPCB chairman reviewed the situation and observed that the industry was not following APPCB norms while treating industrial effluents and letting untreated waste out of its premises through water tankers. The company did not also comply with the PCB's directions in this regard which were issued on January 20 this year.

Monitoring by APPCB at two stations indicated that due to the fire, there was an increase in the respirable suspended particulate matter (PM10) to 108 micro gram/nm3 when compared to the permissible limit of 100 microgram/nm3,the press release quoted the PCB chairman as saying.

Five Teams to Conduct Safety Audit:- gainst the backdrop of the major fire mishap at the Biomax unit, the government has decided to conduct a safety audit in the industries in the district. District collector N Yuvaraj said that special safety audit teams, comprising officials from outside districts of the department of Factories, Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Fire and Safety wings, would be deployed. In the first phase, the audit would be conducted in 94 identified industries prone to accidents.

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