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.
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“The team has just arrived to start its study from the onset of winter in Kolkata. They will do a very comprehensive study across all seasonal cycles,” West Bengal Pollution Control Board’s chairman Kalyan Rudra told PTI.
“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 said.
Although they are measuring different parameters of air pollution in the city but there is no data as to where it is coming from, Rudra said.
“Once we have the complete scientific report with us then action will be taken accordingly,” he 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 dangerous level in Delhi.
“There are geographical reasons for it. Kolkata is closer to the sea and there is the north-eastern flow of winds which makes us comparatively safer than Delhi. Similarly even Mumbai is safer.
But this doesn’t mean that the winter season is good for our lungs,” the official 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.
“We are discussing what steps can be taken. We also want to regulate the PUC centres at petrol pumps as sometimes they violate rule,” Rudra said.