A study by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has found air quality ‘very unhealthy’ in parts of Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Raigad and Chandrapur districts. The study analysed ambient air quality data from 2008 to 2011 to reach at its conclusion.
The study found that the ambient air quality at 28 sites, out of the total 73 monitored, fell in the ‘very unhealthy or worse’ category.
The report is the statistical analysis of ambient air quality data collected from the 73 monitoring stations of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) across 17 districts of the state.
Five such ‘very unhealthy or worse’ sites are found in Mumbai, six in Thane, four in Pune, one in Nagpur and Aurangabad each, five in Chandrapur, and two in Raigad, Jalna and Latur districts each. Ghuggus in Chandrapur district topped this list with ‘very unhealthy’ air being present at the site, followed by Sion in Mumbai, Mahad MP Market in Raigad and Tadali MIDC in Chandrapur district.
“The major sources of particulate matter emission impacting the ambient air quality are automobiles, re-suspended dust and industries,” stated the report, which was recently submitted to the MPCB. The board will soon send this report to the PWD and the transport commissioner, besides the Central Pollution Control Board and the BMC.
The ambient air pollution was assessed by calculating the Air Quality Index (AQI), a standardised indicator to determine the quality of air and associated health effects. While AQI range 0-50 for Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) and 0-40 for NO2 and SO2 indicates ‘good’, an AQI range of 201-300 for RSPM and 161-240 for SO2 and NO2 indicates ‘very unhealthy’. The MPCB plans to publish similar reports of ambient air quality data collected over 2012-13 and 2013-14 by June this year.
While a majority of monitoring stations recorded poor air quality, 13 sites across Maharashtra recorded ‘good’ or ‘moderate’ air quality during the four years. These sites are located in Thane, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Solapur, Amravati and Sangli districts.
The ambient air quality monitoring in Maharashtra is carried out with the help of Central Pollution Control Board, NEERI and educational institutes such as Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur, and other engineering institutes. In attempts to improve the quality of its monitoring stations, the MPCB constituted an audit team, comprising faculty of engineering institutes across the state, last month. “We are also trying to increase the number of stations for better monitoring and identify new educational institutes. We have instructed regional heads to visit at least one site a month,” said M V Motghare, Joint Director, Air Pollution Control, who is set to visit Aurangabad, Nagpur and Pune next week to conduct capacity-building workshops on quality control for the institutes monitoring air quality.