Monday, 30th October 2017

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Just 2 days of healthy breath

Data shocker on city's air quality last year

By Dev Raj in Patna
  • Published 6.03.18

Patna: The air quality in the state capital was "good" on just two days, "satisfactory" on 77 days and "medium" on 92 days last year, according to Bihar State Pollution Control Board data (BSPCB). It was "bad" on 53 days, "very bad" on 85 days and "serious" on 36 days.

This was revealed on Monday in deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi's reply to a call attention motion by MLC Kedar Nath Pandey in the Legislative Council. Pandey had cited news reports about disastrous levels of air pollution in Patna and other cities over the last few years and asked what the government was doing about it.

"BSPCB data for 2017 shows that PM2.5 (particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns thickness) in the ambient air was between 45.9 microgram per cubic metre of air (ug/M3) and 257 ug/M3. The government of India's standard for this is 60 ug/M3," Modi said.

The deputy CM, who also holds the environment and forest department portfolio, added: "The condition of gaseous pollution has been found to be within their prescribed standards in Patna. The annual average of PM2.5 has been found to be 116.15 microgram per cubic metre of air in 2017."

PM2.5 is considered among the main reasons behind respiratory diseases and cancer, and the deputy CM pointed that air pollution here was mainly due to PM2.5, which shoots up during the winter because the condensation of particulate matter and carbon in the lower levels of the atmosphere.

Pollution board chairman Ashok Kumar Ghosh said that air quality index (AQI) is prepared by taking into account carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides, lead, methane and other greenhouse gases, and PM2.5. The categorisation of air quality on different days is done on the basis of the index.

Patna, as per the 2016 urban air quality database of the World Health Organisation (WHO), was the sixth most polluted city among 3,000 cities across the world on the basis of average annual PM2.5 readings, which for Patna was 149 ug/M3.

Modi said the state government has issued various directions to improve ambient air quality, including a directive to the Patna Municipal Corporation not to burn solid waste in the open. "Directions have been issued to ensure construction sites are covered while work is on. Pollution under control certificate of vehicles is being checked. Steps are being taken with the help of petroleum companies to provide environment-friendly fuel to Patna," Modi said.

He said two additional centres to keep a tab on air pollution have been proposed in Patna, and that after August 2018 only those brick kilns which incorporate environment-friendly techniques will be allowed.