Following the national Capital’s recent atmospheric condition, the state government decided to study Kolkata’s air pollution source.
West Bengal Pollution Control Board (PCB) is measuring different parameters of air pollution in the city but there is no data yet as to where it is coming from. As New Delhi grappled with its worst smog in 17 years, the Supreme Court asked the Central government on Tuesday to inform within 48 hours if it has a policy, or graded response, to check the rising air pollution in Delhi.
The top court also asked the Centre, Delhi government and the civic agencies concerned to come up with a common minimum programme, or an action plan, to fight the menace. It was hearing a plea filed by the Environment Pollution Control Authority, which has sought a proper monitoring of pollution levels.
Although the air pollution level in Kolkata is “not as bad as in Delhi”, authorities have started working on a plan to make the air quality safer.
A team of experts from the National Environment Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur, are in Kolkata to conduct an 18-month-long study to understand the different sources of pollution affecting the city.
The Bengal secretariat is also taking the matter very seriously, as the pollution control board investigates matter.
PCB chairman Kalyan Rudra informed that the team has just arrived to start its study from the start of winter in Kolkata. They will do a very comprehensive study across all seasonal cycles.
“We have given them work order as per the instruction of National Green Tribunal (NGT). They will take 18 months for this study. The preliminary work has been started. 12 stations will be constructed in Kolkata, Howrah and in other different places,” Rudra added.
“The objective is to understand the source apportionment of air pollution. We want to know how much and what kind of pollution is coming from burning of waste, vehicles, dust, flow of winds, etc,” he also said.
Although they are measuring different parameters of air pollution in the city, there is no data as to where it is coming from. Once we have the complete scientific report with us, then action will be taken accordingly, Rudra further said.
According to air quality monitoring data both PM2.5 and PM10 levels in the city are above the permissible limits set by the WHO but it is still way below the hazardous level in Delhi.
There are geographical reasons for it. Kolkata is closer to the sea and there is the North-eastern flow of wind which makes it comparatively safer than Delhi. Similarly even Mumbai is safer. But this doesn’t mean that the winter season is good for the lungs, the present researcher of PCB said.
Showers around Diwali, when pollution level peaks up due to firecrackers, also improved the air quality. The state Environment Department has also started collaborating with the Transport Department to control vehicular pollution.
PCB is also working on what steps can be taken. PCB also wants to regulate the PUC centers at petrol pumps as sometimes they violate rule.