In the last few weeks, Mumbai has been consistently recording ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ category AQI levels. Photo: Nvssafu photography/Wikimedia Commons

25 air quality monitors not enough for Mumbai: Experts

Experts have proposed more monitoring stations under the Nation-wide Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to hasten an “area-based micro-level action plan” to tackle pollution sources in Mumbai. They said despite 20 active stations and five more in the pipeline, the number has to be increased given the expanse of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, HT reported. 

Sachchidananda Tripathi, professor at IIT Kanpur and a member of the national steering committee of NCAP told the newspaper that said almost 30 times cheaper versions are being built indigenous by local startups which are at par with imported monitors. While one imported station costs Rs 1.4 crore for five-six years, the  Indian version will cost around Rs 6 lakh, he said, adding that a report in this regard has been submitted to the MPCB and other states to save the cost. One can put 30 Indian stations in place of an imported one already putting 1,400 such stations in UP and Bihar covering 150 districts, he said.

Coal losing out to biomass in National Capital Region

The ban on the use of coal in the National Capital Region starting this month has forced industry to shift to biomass, reported Reuters. The anti-coal drive has pushed about half the 1,695 units in a cluster of small industries around one of the world’s most polluted capitals to use biomass, regulators told the newswire, up from fewer than 15% counted in a 2020 study.

According to a 2020 study by Centre for Science and Environment if all coal-based industries switched to cleaner fuel in Panipat, the global cloth recycling hub about 62 miles from Delhi, it would lead to an estimated fall of 70% to 80% in sulphur oxide emissions, and a drop of 40% to 60% in nitrogen oxides. The Reuters report adds that Textile recyclers, dyers and food processors in the city in Panipat and in neighbouring Sonipat and Faridabad, have quickly switched away from coal, the previous fuel of choice.

The report says coal is losing out to biomass in the National Capital region. The change to biomass, which usually consists of pellets or briquettes of farm residue, promises to slash emissions and spur farmers to sell such residue instead of burning it, say industry officials and regulators.

Even 2 hours of exposure to air pollution impairs brain function: study

According to a new study exposure to diesel exhaust for just two hours causes a decrease in the brain’s functional connectivity or how different areas of the brain interact and communicate with each other.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, provides the first evidence in humans, from a controlled experiment, of altered brain network connectivity induced by air pollution. For many decades scientists thought the brain may be protected from the harmful impacts of air pollution, the senior scientist who authored the report said. While the current study only looked at the cognitive impacts of traffic-derived pollution, Carlsten said that other products of combustion are likely a concern, reported PTI.

At AQI 160, Delhi records cleanest air in over 3 months, London mayor issues alert at AQI 58

Delhi recorded the cleanest air in over three months on Wednesday as the overall AQI improved to 160 in the ‘moderate’ category, helped by strong winds. The last time the city saw a better AQI reading was on October 14, when it stood at 154. According to CPCB figures the capital’s air quality had entered the ‘severe’ category on Sunday, with an AQI of 407. However, it improved to ‘very poor’ on Monday and further to ‘poor’ on Tuesday, with AQI recorded at 335 and 237, respectively.

London mayor Sadiq Khan issued a high air pollution alert for Tuesday after London’s air quality index touched 58 and was considered moderate. Khan urged Londoners to look after each other by choosing to walk, cycle or take public transport where possible, avoiding unnecessary car journeys, stopping engine idling and not burning garden waste. The mayor said over the next few days people should avoid unnecessary car journeys. The mayor’s office also planned to display pollution alert messages across the Transport for London (TfL) network. Schools and boroughs will also be notified regarding the same.

Khan underlined the need to expand London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to reduce toxic air pollution in the city. In the UK, the AQI level between 0-3 is low, 4-6 is moderate, 7-9 is high and beyond 10 is very high, according to the data by Defra.

The AQI level in London is 1/3rd of that in Delhi, which is considered unhealthy for living. As per AQI website, the AQI level at Jahangirpuri at 10 pm was at 194, and was considered ‘unhealthy’. Other areas considered unhealthy included Narela (170), Bawana (174), Punjabi Bagh (164) and others.

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