Guwahati, Friday, July 23, 2010
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Air pollution emerging as serious concern
Staff reporter
 GUWAHATI, July 22 – Growing air pollution has emerged as a serious concern in the city, with vehicular emission and dust contributing a major share of the deteriorating air quality.

The Pollution Control Board Assam (PCBA) which has been monitoring the city’s ambient air quality under the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP) has recorded high levels of air pollution in all its monitoring stations in the city.

Data with the air quality monitoring station at Bamunimaidam reveals presence of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) well above the prescribe limit since 2008.

The findings at the Dispur station also show a similar pattern with both RSPM and SPM above the prescribed limit since 2008. At another station at Gopinath Nagar, the SPM values were well within the prescribed limit but RSPM values exceeded the prescribed norms since 2007. At Santipur it was observed that the RSPM values were above prescribed the limit in 2006 and 2009, while the SPM values were also beyond the prescribed limit in 2006.

The presence of sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen was, however, within the permissible limits at all the monitoring stations.

A PCBA official said that the ambient air quality of the city did not reveal any specific trend or pattern during the study period. “The year-to-year increases or decreases of the value of the parameters monitored are random and did not conform to ant particular trend,” he said.

The official said that the yearly average values of RSPM and SPM have been either high or in critical condition in almost all the locations. “This may be due to prolonged dryness during the winter months, increasing number of vehicles on road, growing industrial activities, construction, and other human activities,” he said.

Giving an account of the steps taken by the PCBA to reduce the level of particulate matters in the ambient air of the city, the official said that the Board had asked all the motor companies to organize free vehicular emission-cum-servicing camps, and that a number of such camps had been organized.

“Some of the measures include issuance of strict directives to the petrol pumps against fuel adulteration at any stage. Similarly, all the four refineries of the State have been directed to improve their fuel quality,” he said.

The PCBA has increased the number of monitoring stations from four to six in the city under the NAMP programme. A proposal has also been submitted to the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi, for setting up a continuous air ambient air quality monitoring station in the city.

Underscoring the need for intensive monitoring of the ambient air quality, the official said that a database was a must for facilitating formulation of an appropriate action plan for restoration of air quality in the city.

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