Tandoors, burning of solid waste adding to dirty Delhi air: IIT study

According to the report, a complete ban on MSW burning can almost bring emissions from this source to zero and possibly see an improvement of 5-10 per cent in air quality.

Written by Apurva | New Delhi | Updated: January 13, 2016 10:08 am
air pollution, pollution, asthma, lung disease, heart disease, strokes, impairs cognitive function, 2015 World Health Assembly, Climate Change, indian express columns The PM emission in the form of flyash from this source is large and contributes to air pollution.

As the odd and even vehicle number experiment, one of the measures taken to reduce pollution levels in Delhi, draws to a close Friday, a study by IIT Kanpur has identified coal-fired tandoors in restaurants and hotels of the Capital as one of the contributors of particulate matter.

The study was commissioned by the Delhi government in 2012 and a draft report, which has been submitted to the government, recommends that such restaurants shift to electric or gas-based appliances.

The ‘Comprehensive Study on Air Pollution and Green House Gases (GHGs) in Delhi’ analysed several sources that contribute to Delhi’s hazardous air, including vehicles, power plants, industries, traffic, local power generation, hotels and open burning of municipal solid waste (MSW).

Watch video Tandoors Contributing To Delhi’s Air Pollution: IIT Kanpur Study

The report says burning of MSW in Delhi is rampant and contributes to Delhi’s air. “This emission is expected to be large in the regions of economically lower strata of the society which do not have proper infrastructure for collection and disposal of MSW.”

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“There are approximately 9,000 hotels/restaurants in the city of Delhi, which use coal (mostly in tandoors). The PM emission in the form of flyash from this source is large and contributes to air pollution. It is proposed that all restaurants of sitting capacity more than 10 should not use coal and shift to electric or gas-based appliances,” the draft report states.

“The details of the hotels and restaurants were obtained from the DPCC (Delhi Pollution Control Committee) and related websites. During the field survey, it was observed that hotels, restaurants, etc use coal as fuel in tandoors. The average consumption of coal in tandoor based on survey was 30 kg/day.

The total number of hotel and restaurant enterprise was 36,099 (Delhi Statistical Hand Book, 2014). We assume that 25% of these enterprises use tandoor for food preparation.” states the report.

According to the report, coal and flyash are the largest contributors to PM 10 (particulate matter less than 10 micron in diameter) and PM 2.5 (particulate matter les than 2.5 micron in diameter) in the summers. Of the 37,171 kg/day and 18,369 kg/day of PM 10 and PM 2.5, the report shows 3,493 kg/day and 1,758 kg/day of the same particulate matter is from hotel and restaurant emissions.

“A careful examination shows that about 67 per cent reduction of PM10 (2,142 kg/day) and PM2.5 (1,083 kg/day) emission from this source can be achieved by stopping uses of coal. It may be seen that coal and flyash are the largest contributing sources in summer and this action is expected to reduce ambient air concentration by 2.7 µg/m3 and 2.9 µg/m3 in PM10 and PM2.5 respectively,” the report states.

It also lays heavy emphasis on the burning of MSW in Delhi. “It is a myth that MSW is not burned in Delhi. The MSW burning is widespread in Delhi and NCR, more frequently in winter. A recent study by Nagpure et al. (2015) in Delhi has estimated 190 to 246 tons/day of MSW burning (that’s about 2-3 per cent of the 8,390 tons/day of MSW generated),” the report states.

“The estimated emissions are: 2,000 kg/d of PM10 and about 1,800 kg of PM2.5. MSW burning contributes to nearly 10 per cent of PM10 and PM2.5 in ambient air in winters. Any form of garbage burning should be strictly stopped and monitored for its compliance. It will require development of infrastructure (including access to remote and congested areas) for effective collection of MSW and disposal at landfill site,” the report states.

According to the report, a complete ban on MSW burning can almost bring emissions from this source to zero and possibly see an improvement of 5-10 per cent in air quality.

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  1. S
    Jan 13, 2016 at 5:18 am
    Absolutely, I also count agarbatti/incense sticks amongst the polluters ! And ,why leave out the havans, aartis , lohri, holika-dahan, ravan-dahan, mosquito coils, kebab grills, bhutta-grills, moongphali-grills, shakarkandi-grills etc. . Regulate everything ,so that the lordships (and their wards) can take off the ninja masks that they are forced to wear today ! Hey,we may not have electricity, jobs, food or transport tomorrow, but look we will have the cleanest air of all metros of the world !!! All hail the activists and lordships for showing us the path ...
    1. H
      Haradhan Mandal
      Jan 13, 2016 at 10:43 am
      I agree overall. BUT It seems to be LARGELY a cherry picking of data (or an incomplete study). The overall figure of PM 10 and PM 2.5" is way high - about 37,171 kg/day and 18,369 kg/day of PM 10 and PM 2.5" compared to "3,493 kg/day and 1,758 kg/day " from coal-fired oven and 2,000 kg/d of PM10 and about 1,800 kg of PM2.5 from MSW burning. Roughly speaking that is 37000 against 5500 and 18000 against 3600. We still have roughly 32000 kg/day pf PM 10 and 15000 kg/day UNEXPLAINED . The study should also have mentioned the figure from vehicular pollution and other sources (and for both in Summer and Winter season).
    2. A
      Agastya M
      Jan 13, 2016 at 7:01 pm
      It's time to shut down IIT's. Kerosene is about 30 per liter in Delhi. This is the cheapest way to adulterate diesel. Some kerosene is added at the plant itself. Dealers increase it to 45% per liter. All the pollution in Delhi is due to adulterated fuel. Even more unscrupulous dealers add used industrial solvents like toluene and benzene and used lubricants. Do you really think a petrol pump owner can make a living on the 50 paise commission per liter govt. gives him? No. So he makes millions by adulterating it. Shut down all IIT's. They have no brains left.
      1. R
        Jan 13, 2016 at 8:04 am
        Coal is the worst pollutant, but AAPs provide subsidy on electricy and then make taxpaying car users suffer, in the name of reducing pollution.
        1. d
          Jan 13, 2016 at 3:27 am
          A good idea to do something next to reduce pollution.
          1. D
            dr gautam
            Jan 13, 2016 at 3:14 am
            Great ideas from IIT kanpur ,supplement this by odd even scheme,improve ,reduce burning of fields in neighbouring states,improve car qualities bs6 ,plant more trees,waterways,increase metro service,cycle paths, things will improve,atleast aap is doing something what did congress do or BJP doing????
            1. N
              Jan 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm
              Next....Delhiites should avoid all food that increases flatulence.
              1. B
                Jan 13, 2016 at 1:53 am
                It is not true about the cole. cole was the prime source for cooking in 100 % restaurants and houses for around120 yr Last 40 yr 90 % house and 50 % restaurants uses gas It the car went up140 % since last 30 so iit tell me why it is cole or you hot big donation from multinational food companies or your education minister want you to say Think think
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