KARACHI: Laborers on Friday have staged protest against shifting of soybean ship from Karachi Port to Qasim Port for offloading in order to avoid further emission of dust in the area.
According to details, the workers have blocked roads leading to the port and demanded the local authorities to restore the unloading process.
Earlier, Commissioner of Karachi had forwarded a report on Keamari toxic gas issue to Chief Minister of Sindh (CM) Murad Ali Shah, stating that the particles of soybean dust were found in the blood samples of the victims. He also suggested to stop offloading of the soybean at Karachi Port.
The commissioner further assured the CM that the situation was under control as steps are being taken to handle the matter.
Meanwhile, Ships Agents Association strongly denied reports of dangerous gas emissions from soybean and said that soybean is not related to chemicals as it is an agricultural product.
Soybean is being handled at the port without any damage for years and no one from the workers on the ship got affected by it, the association said.
The statement further claimed that first victim of the poisonous gas was admitted in the hospital even before the ship got anchored.
On the other hand, Sindh government issued an advisory according to which, the soybean dust causes itching in the mouth, eczema, throat inflammation and choked breathing.
Earlier, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) had revealed that “exposure to soybean dust” is causing severe respiratory problems for the locals of Keamari, an area of Karachi.
The report suggested to give bronchodilators and antihistamines to the patients admitted in the hospitals. It also recommended the local authorities to take extreme care during unloading of soybean containers from now on.
“Kindly note that soybean dust exposure related epidemics have been reported earlier from other parts of the world with associated morbidity and mortality,” the report stated.
On the other hand, All Pakistan Solvent Extractors’ Association rejected the report, saying that the first patient was hospitalised even before the soybean was unloaded.
“None of the around 400 labourers and ship crew who are involved in the discharge operation has been affected,” the statement said.
“The vessel was thoroughly inspected by the Department of Plant Protection after it arrived in Pakistan and they found nothing,” the association said.
It is to be mentioned here that about 14 people have been died due to the toxic gas so far whereas over 30 including women and children are still under treatment at different hospitals.