Karachi [Pakistan], Feb 20 (ANI): A vessel carrying a soybean shipment will be shifted from Karachi Port to Port Qasim, Karachi Port Trust (KPT) said on Wednesday, a day after a research centre suggested that the "exposure to soybean dust" may be the cause of breathing difficulties being faced by residents of Keamari area.
14 people have died and scores others have complained of breathing difficulties from what has been dubbed the leakage of toxic gas whose nature and the source remain unclear. Authorities were alerted to the incident when people in the Keamari area began rushing to nearby hospitals with severe breathing problems on Sunday night.
In a statement, the KPT spokesperson said that the authorities had decided to move the ship during the morning but decided against it due to the low tide.
In a letter sent to Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani on Tuesday, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) Director Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary had said that the lab has examined blood and urine samples of people "exposed to toxic aerosols" as well as soybean dust samples.
Choudhary said that while the lab is extensively engaged in deciphering the cause of this toxic exposure, it believes that the breathing difficulties being faced by the residents of Keamari area may be due to overexposure to soybean dust.
The lab advised that extreme care be taken in the unloading of soybean containers and that people admitted in the hospital be given bronchodilators and anti-histamines.
An initial investigation into the incident by Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) on Monday showed that toxic gas had leaked from the terminal storing crude oil and petroleum products located within the residential areas. (ANI)