Cooking,too,adds to air pollutants in city: Study

According to SAFAR,cooking activity in slums has led to a rise in particulate matter (PM 2.5 microgram per metre cube)

Written by Express News Service | Published: July 24, 2012 1:34:55 am

According to SAFAR,cooking activity in slums has led to a rise in particulate matter (PM 2.5 microgram per metre cube)

It is not only vehicles or industrial units but,according to a recent study,cooking also contributes to significant amounts of pollutants in the air.

A study shows that emissions from fuel for cooking in slums,residential areas,hotels as well as street vendors in the city was high.

The findings are part of an ongoing study over the last two months. The study is being carried out by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) scientists in collaboration with Vasant Dada Sugar Institute,Manjri. More than 110 college students and several teachers have been roped in for the survey.

Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR) was selected as the second city in India after Delhi for providing air quality information services to be developed by IITM under the project System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

Over 32,000 representative samples regarding fuel consumption,fuel type used,hours of cooking and others were collected from almost all slum pockets in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) jurisdictions.

“There is a perception that industries are chiefly responsible for the worsening air quality and associated health impact,but results of this Emission Inventory Campaign throws up some interesting facts,” says Dr Gufran Beig,programme director,SAFAR.

According to the SAFAR survey,cooking activity in slums has led to a rise in particulate matter (PM 2.5 microgram per metre cube). While the permissible limit is 15 mu g per cubic metre,it was 40-50 microgram per metre cube.

“On an average,68 per cent families in slums in PMC areas uses LPG,25 per cent uses kerosene,and seven per cent wood while some families use coal and cow dung,” said Neha Parkhi,coordinator of emission campaign,IITM.

“The high LPG usage in slums puts Pune and PCMC higher in the development index as compared to National Capital Region,Delhi,where LPG ration is comparatively low,” said Beig.

However,the amount of kerosene,wood and traditional chulhas being used in slum areas of Pune followed is still considerably high,he added.

“Just how intensive these small activities are governs the type and amount of volatile organic compounds that are emitted. These react with nitrogen oxides to give out ozone,which is responsible for increasing cases of asthmatic attacks in PMR. Infants and the elderly living in downtown city areas are the most vulnerable,” said Dr D M Chate,co-ordinator,health impact assessment group of IITM.

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