KARACHI: The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) spokesperson Mohammad Shariq on Wednesday said the vessel carrying soybean shipment would be sent to Port Qasim from the Karachi Port.
The decision has been taken following the report of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) Director Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary made recommendation in this regard. The report, after examining specimen of residents of the affected areas, revealed that while the exact cause of the toxic aerosols could not be determined yet, but overexposure to soybean dust could be one reason for facing difficulty in breathing.
The soybean ship, Hercules, had arrived from the United States of America on Feb 15.
A committee has been formed to probe into the matter of gas leakage in Keamari for ascertaining it root cause and determining the reasons for the incident.
A high level meeting in the wake of saddening Keamari incident, co-chaired by Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi and Provincial Minister for Local Government Sindh Nasir Hussain Shah was held in Karachi.
The meeting expressed concerns over the situation that not only affected more than three hundred residents of Keamari and its adjoining areas, but also expressed grief over the loss of precious lives.
The death toll as a result of the toxic gas leakage has rose to 14. Jackson Market, Railway Colony, Sikandarabad, and Masaan Road are the most affected areas. People of the affected areas took to the streets and staged a demonstration on main roads against the government’s inaction to determine the source of the gas and protect the residents.
Hazardous hydrogen sulphide and nitric oxide gases have been found in the air. According to a private lab, the level of the two gases had not yet reached where they could endanger lives, however they may leave long-lasting health effects.
Pakistan Peoples Party leader Senator Murtaza Wahab said the preliminary report had been submitted by experts at Karachi University which suggested that Keamari incident happened due to over exposure of soybean dust which was known to have also caused similar incidents in other parts of the world. “This soybean is in a shipment docked at Karachi Port,” he said.
A report published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health pointed out repeated outbreaks of asthma in the city of Barcelona in Spain in 1987 and the experts identified soybean dust generated during the unloading of ships in the port as major cause of the outbreak.