AHMEDABAD: The Indian Air Quality Index (AQI) launched earlier this year puts Ahmedabad right among the top five most polluted cities, frequently giving it ‘Very Poor’ and ‘Severe’ ratings. The scenario has not changed much for the city, ranked 9th among the most polluted cities in the world in WHO’s 2014 report on ambient air pollution.
While experts cite vehicular and industrial pollution as the reason for the phenomenon, the experts opine that there is lack of an action plan or even a proper monitoring system to tackle air pollution. City-based Centre for Environment Education (CEE) released the findings and recommendations of ‘Aerospectrum 2015’ – organized on December 9 – on Monday. The event was organized jointly by CEE, NEERI and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB).
J K Vyas, head of industrial pollution prevention at CEE, said that after the 2012 study by CPCB about the ambient air quality in India quoted in the WHO study, this is the latest study on the subject. “The experts discussed that, if the problem not taken seriously, even drastic measures such as the recent odd-even numbered vehicle policy of Delhi will not be able to improve the situation. A study puts the number of deaths due to air pollution in India at 6.7 lakh annually. We thus decided to put together stakeholders from industry, government and non-government agencies and academics on the same platform for discussion,” he said.
AQI on October 19
City Index Value Primary Pollutant
Ahmedabad 329 PM2.5
Kanpur 328 PM2.5
Faridabad 324 PM2.5
Delhi 323 PM2.5, PM10
Agra 251 PM2.5
According to the presentation by Dr B Sengupta, former member secretary of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the AQI primarily identified PM10 and PM2.5 (Particulate Matter of the size of 10 and 2.5 micrometres respectively) along with NOx (mono-nitrogen oxides), CO (carbon monoxide), O3 (ozone), PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) among others as the core problems. Ahmedabad specifically has high PM2.5 and O3 levels, which have severe health implications such as toxicity, allergic effects, bacterial or fungal infection and fibrosis.
– Existing PUC system should be made more authentic and reliable or replaced by a comprehensive inspection and maintenance system which is user friendly.
– Promotion of clean fuel like CNG and LPG. BS III norms for fuels and vehicles implemented all over the state and BS IV and V for cities.
– Use of concrete roads in place of tar road to avoid maintenance and dust emission.
– Provide timers at all traffic points where movements of vehicles are very high. Fully ensure that the timers work 24×7 through 365 days.
– Encourage and provide public transport systems like BRTS and metro rail
– Continuous emission monitoring stations to be set up in all major cities at all locations where traffic intensity is high.
– Identify toxic pollutants emitted by industries manufacturing pesticides, dye and dye intermediates, petrochemicals, and its measurement to be done by enforcing agencies for prevention and control of pollution
– Link air pollution with energy efficiency in coal/oil/gas/biofuel fired boilers
– Create more awareness about environmental clinics (facilities providing solutions to industry clusters regarding environmental issues) among small scale industries.
– Comprehensive continuous air quality monitoring and mapping. At least three continuous air monitoring systems in major areas.