PATNA: The air quality near Maurya Lok Complex, Bihar Veterinary College and Walmi has been found to be “very poor”, as per ‘An Assessment Report of Air Quality of Patna City at Different Micro-Environment’ released by deputy CM and minister of environment and forest department Sushil Kumar Modi on Wednesday.
The assessment was made by Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) through Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, in collaboration with the Centre for Environment, Energy & Climate Change (CEECC) at ADRI between October 19 and November 28, 2017.
The assessment covered major pollutants which were monitored by state-of-the-art mobile air quality monitoring laboratory (MAML) at ten places in the city. As per the report, veterinary college and Walmi reported an AQI of 346 and 307 respectively. “This level of AQI is reported to cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. The effect may be more pronounced in people with lung and heart diseases,” the report observed.
The area near Nalanda Medical College and Hospital, Pant Bhawan, Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) premises and Aryabhatta Knowledge University had ‘poor’ air quality with 297, 284, 258 and 234 AQI respectively. That level of AQI may cause breathing discomfort to people with heart diseases.
The report observed that Patna’s poor air quality was due to particulate matters and high level of fine particles (PM2.5 and PM10) was observed at all locations. “The traffic sector contributes mainly to high concentration of particulate pollutants and locations like Maurya Lok Complex and Pant Bhawan have concentrations more than the prescribed limit,” the report said.
The level of gaseous pollutants in Patna was found mostly within permissible limit, baring a few exceptions.
Modi said the state government would soon write a letter to the central government to make provisions for banning vehicles older than 15 years in big cities such as in Patna to check air pollution. “The Motor Vehicles Act 1988 has no provision to ban vehicles older than 15 years. NCR region is an exception to this. We, till the time being, will try to make the provisions to obtain pollution control certificate more stringent,” he said.
However, Modi said though air pollution was a big problem, there was no need to panic. “I have asked BSPCB to install at least three out of the proposed five air quality monitoring stations in the next 6 to 8 months. Data gaps in the air quality assessment by Patna’s only monitoring station provides insufficient information,” he said.
Modi also asked BSPCB to come up with a toll-free number for people to register their complaints relating to pollution issues. He also announced plantation of 10,000 trees by the state government in the city and along the banks of the Ganga where the top alluvial soil was exposed leading to an increase in dust particles in the air.