The district administration’s request for more stone quarries has led the State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) to direct them to measure the air quality at sites before seeking for a green signal. With stone crushers likely to cause more air pollution, the SEAC has particularly asked the administration to carry out the study of Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) before the next hearing in May.
Pune district administration had sought environmental clearance for 500 sites, of which 300 were cleared and 200 pending. Meanwhile, an additional backlog of another 47 proposals were added to take the total up to 247. Of the 247 proposals, 173 were recommended for environmental clearance, while 73 stone quarries in the Haveli taluka surrounding Pune city are still being examined for consideration by the SEAC.
During the earlier meeting, the committee had observed that “considering the inordinately high pollution in Pune city, the additional collector should certify that operation of the proposed quarries will not result in the permissible levels of air pollution to be exceeded”.
The district administration has already initiated the process to abide by the SEAC instructions. Additional collector Pradeep Patil said they had made a detailed presentation to the SEAC and had assured them that air quality would be measured for a month and details would be submitted to the SEAC at the next meeting for approval. “Of all the villages surrounding the city, there are three main areas which have more quarries and we will have the air quality measured for these areas,’’ said Patil.
In the presentation, the SEAC had observed that the air quality studies were of 2013 and the ambient air quality study had not been done for 15 individual quarries, while the ambient air quality studies for four clusters did not generate rationale “isopleth diagrams considering the predominant wind direction.”
The committee has directed that for all the four clusters — Bhavadi (19 quarries), Lonikand (15 quarries), Moshi (19 quarries) and Yewalewadi (5 quarries) — and remaining 15 quarries in 13 villages, air quality should be carried out in a specific manner. “We have been asked for measurement of wind details, three observations in each case should be taken while cross wind details for nearby habitation within the radius of 5 kms from cluster should be taken,’’ said Patil. The SEAC had also instructed that PM 10 (particulate matter) and PM 2.5 values had to be calculated as per the procedure prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board and the reading should be verified by the additional collector.