India’s green court, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), warned the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) over inaction against violators because of the shortage. The NGT said “explain as to why inaction on account of alleged shortage of staff as well as strengthening of laboratories and monitoring capabilities be not treated as collusion with polluters”. The NGT sought a response in two months stating why environmental compensation “not be imposed upon them and/or criminal action be not directed, under environmental laws, against them”.
According to the plea in the court, there are 481 sanctioned posts in HSPCB, but only 178 of them are filled across the 22 districts of the state. No reason has been assigned either by the state of Haryana or HSPCB as to why vacant posts are not being filled in to have an effective control over polluters who are causing pollution and affecting not only the environment but also the health of people.
Haryana pollution board plans to set up another 22 stations to monitor air quality taking the total in the state to 51. Delhi has 38 such monitors, the highest for all NCR states. Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) chairman P Raghavendra Rao told TOI.
Air pollution: Mumbai reports 25-30% jump in cases of skin allergies among young people
Cases of skin allergies because of air pollution have seen a marked rise in Mumbai recently, TOI reported. General physicians and dermatologists at various hospitals have noticed a rise in cases of skin allergy urticaria, caused by pollution and a sudden change in weather. “Environmental factors such as air pollution, humidity, and temperature play a significant role in triggering and aggravating symptoms,” the report said, adding that there is a 25-30% jump in outpatient footfalls, in hospitals.
An increase in airborne pollutants like PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide are known to trigger hive outbreaks among some people, Dr Saurabh Shah, a dermatologist from Bhatia Hospital, told TOI.
Lokayukta orders SIT probe into chemical industry pollution
The stench and complaints of health issues caused by the release of obnoxious gases by chemical industries in the Taloja MIDC area, near Mumbai have reached Maharashtra Lokayukta. The court directed the state environment department to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to monitor the level of pollution and submit a report within three weeks.
In a hearing held on February 17, Lokayukta Justice VM Kanade directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to find out which chemical industries are responsible and direct them to install air pollution control devices.
Exposure to air pollution during training affects race performance, new study finds training and completing at higher levels of air pollutants leads to slower race times. Study asks coaches to consider approaches to reduce air pollution exposures while training athletes.
Chennai to clean air with integrated traffic management plan, bio-mining of dumpyards
Chennai is planning to launch an integrated traffic management system and bio mining of dumpyards to fix the problem of air pollution in the metro. Integrated traffic management system project is expected to improve air quality by reducing the idling time of vehicles through a dynamic artificial intelligence system and consequently reduce the pollution at 184 junctions across the city, reported The Hindu.
The city will integrate and monitor data from 30 pollution sensors, installed by the integrated command and control centre (ICCC), with data from pollution sensors managed by various civic agencies, universities and private agencies. On biomining of legacy waste at the dumpyards, experts pointed out that the process generated bio aerosols when bio inoculum is sprinkled on the legacy waste, stated the Hindu report adding that the bio digested waste needs to be mechanically screened for the PM2.5 in the form of aerosols. The biomining site should be barricaded and the entire process should be carried out in a closed atmosphere, the report said.
Mumbai reduced to being a ‘city of haze’, AQI touches 500 in some areas
Construction in the Mumbai suburb of Mulund recently recorded AQI levels at 500 in some areas. Editorial in Mint states the situation needs policy clamps on the building spree of private builders as well as a huge digging project by BMC.
The newspaper said authorities must deploy a dust-reduction mandate. Builders could cloak sites in cover-up material, spray surfaces with water to dampen them and use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters, together with special polymers and other dust-control agents. The adoption of such methods would add to costs, no doubt, but these bills must be borne in accordance with the principle of ‘polluter pays’. Municipal authorities could place AQI caps on project sites, let managers pick their mix of dust-busters, and then upload data to an online dashboard for locals to access, corroborate and mount a vigil if they want.