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Air monitor for steel fortress
- Pollution board on land hunt in city to set up gas analyser unit

Jamshedpur residents will soon be able to know how poisonous is their air.

Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) is planning to install a real-time ambient air quality monitoring system in the steel city that is home to several industries and factories, including Tata Steel and Telco, and is known for high pollution levels.

The system, technically known as the gas analyser-cum-collection console, will be the second such installation in any residential and commercial area in Jharkhand after Ranchi where it made a debut last May.

Like the one that has been installed on the Doranda premises of the state forest department in the state capital, the Jamshedpur analyser will also have a display board that will give people real-time info about gaseous levels in the air at a particular time.

At present, the pollution board is scouting for a suitable area to set up the high-end device.

“I have already written to our regional official in Jamshedpur to start looking for an appropriate site for installing the air quality monitoring system. The location is crucial as the display board needs to be visible to a large section of the population every day. People will get an idea about the air quality after seeing the figures on the display board and can raise questions if the pollution level is too high,” JSPCB chairman A.K. Mishra told The Telegraph a few days ago.

The analyser is expected to record ambient air quality based on various parameters such as nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and RSPM (respirable suspended particulate matter).

The air quality monitoring system in Ranchi was set up at a cost of around Rs 2 crore with Tata Steel pitching in funds under its corporate social responsibility.

Mishra said they would welcome similar private participation for the Jamshedpur machine as well, but was not completely banking on any external help.

“Funds will not be a problem for us as it can be procured from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). I have decided to pursue the matter this financial year. Land is the main criteria. Once we succeed in identifying a suitable plot, we will push it through the CPCB,” he added.

Mishra further pointed out that Jamshedpur is one of the major pollution regions in the state because of the presence of so many industries.

“It’s no secret that Jamshedpur generates a huge amount of toxic gases. I have personally experienced it during my visits there. Look at the state of Marine Drive, the rivers (Subernarekha and Kharkai). Vehicular pollution is another factor. This machine will help us keep a continuous tab on air quality and take action if necessary,” he said.

A similar project had been mooted in Dhanbad, touted as the coal capital of the state. However, the ambient air quality monitoring system there is yet to see the light of the day even after a couple of years.

But Mishra held out hope, saying it would become a reality. “To my knowledge, work is going on. I will soon take stock of the situation to clear hurdles, if any,” he said.


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