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Monday, July 16, 2018

‘Only option is to shift to non-emission vehicles’ : Santosh Kumar

Santosh Kumar, director environment, Chandigarh, talks to Chandigarh Newsline about the deteriorating air pollution in the City Beautiful and what measures they are taking to control it and why there is no spontaneous air quality monitoring.

Chandigarh | Published: July 17, 2017 5:51:32 am
Santosh Kumar Interview, Chandigarh Pollution, Environment Chandigarh, air pollution in Chandigarh, air quality monitoring Chandigarh, Chandigarh News, Indian Express News “We want to empower people with the data so that they are aware that during which hour of the day, the air quality usually deteriorates.”

What is the solution to the rising vehicular pollution in the city?

A trial for a battery vehicle is going on which is being done by the transport department. We have started plantation also. Being part of the smart City, everyone has a right to know what is the condition and quality of air. We have started the trial for monitoring at five to six places. If it is successful, then we will execute it at all the places in Chandigarh. The entire data will be available online on the app so that people can know which area is more polluted and they can avoid that area. It is all part of Smart City project.

A study by PEC has found air quality deteriorates during peak hours…

It is obvious. The traffic jams and rush during peak hours cause deterioration in the air quality. We cannot stop the vehicles from increasing. The only option is to shift to non-emission vehicles. Look at Delhi where many things were tried, but the air quality still has not improved. The ultimate solution lies in moving towards emission-less vehicles. The Union government is planning it on a bigger scale so that there will be only electric vehicles by 2030. As population continues to increase, obviously the number of vehicles will also rise.

What is overall quality of air in the city? Is there any real time monitoring?

The RSPM level in Chandigarh is just on the verge of critical. Not even critical but in fact just around the desirable level of 100 RSPM. The current RSPM data with us of the particulate matter is not real time. The data is collected one day and report is received on the third day. There is no spontaneous air quality monitoring. We are now testing different sensors and whichever gives us the best results, it will be replicated in different areas of the city so that there is a network of information about air quality.

Any message for residents?

We want to empower people with the data so that they are aware that during which hour of the day, the air quality usually deteriorates. When people remain informed, they can avoid the area or change their peak hours. People leave from their offices at the same time from 5-6 pm so there is a rush. Some can move early and some late when the data is available.

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