‘Alarmingly high level of air pollution recorded in Jammu city’

SUDHIR KUMAR. Dated: 1/13/2019 8:18:08 PM

‘SPCB failed to update website since Oct 30, 2018’

JAMMU, Jan 12: Shockingly, the Jammu and Kashmir state govt is ignoring an apparent warning of deteriorating pollution levels in Jammu issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its latest study had indicated that the winter capital of the state is among the twenty cities in the world having dirtiest air.
According to reports, Air quality in Jammu has been deteriorating every passing day resulting in lung diseases, and infections. Reports said that pollution in Jammu is higher than the prescribed limits and state administration included state Pollution Control Board in deep slumber.
Jammuites suffered from maximum respiratory diseases in 2016 to 2018 among all diseases. As many as thousands cases related to acute respiratory infection were registered during last three years.
Experts told that Air pollution is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer, and increases the risks for acute respiratory infections and exacerbates asthma. About 98 percent of cities commercial vehicles in Jammu do not meet norms set out by the SPCB air quality guidelines.
“State govt is totally ignoring Government of India guidelines to keep a constant and mandatory check on pollutions on four vital parameters of Total Suspended Particulates, Respirable Suspended Particulates, SO2 and NO2."
There are number of reasons contribute to the air pollution in Jammu. One of the major reason is that the movement of around 5 to 6 lakhs vehicles in the radius of 4-5 square kilometers in Jammu city is one such factor while execution of mega constructions in different parts of the city also add on to the air pollution.
Adding more worries to Jammuites, State Pollution Control Board, Jammu, has failed to update on its website the ‘Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Data' since October 30, 2018.
As per a recent reports, Jammu's air quality is not as good as you think, it was brought to the public attention that some deadly pollutants in Jammu's air are higher than permissible limits, and that the day is not far when Jammu will have ‘severely polluted air'. Under the National Clean Air Program (NCAP), J&K did not meet the air quality standards, and as such, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in October 2018 had asked State Government to prepare an action plan within two months to bring air quality indices within prescribed limits.
On January 3, 2019, State Administration ordered the constitution of the first-ever Air Quality Monitoring Committee (AQMC). The website of the State Pollution Control Board can be accessed at http://jkspcb.nic.in/
After the ‘National Ambient Air Quality Standards' were notified on November 18, , 2009, by the Central Pollution Control Board, SPCB Jammu began uploading the ‘Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Status' of Jammu City, on its website, in June 2017.
The National Ambient Air Quality Standards are specified for around 12 pollutants, namely Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Dioxide µg/m3 (NO2), PM10 µg/m3, PM2.5 µg/m3, Ozone µg/m3 (O3), Lead µg/m3 (Pb), Carbon Monoxide mg/m3 (CO), Ammonia µg/m3 (NH3), Benzene (C6H6), Benzo(a)Pyrene (BaP) - particulate phase only ng/m3, Arsenic ng/m3 (As), Nickel ng/m3 (Ni). SPCB Jammu website shows data for 5 pollutants, namely - Sulphur Dioxide µg/m3 (SO2), Nitrogen Dioxide µg/m3 (NO2), PM2.5 µg/m3, Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM), and Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM).
The people in Jammu don't know about any pollution data, which is available on the website of SPCB Jammu.
Notably, SPCB Jammu collects data from only 3 sites of Jammu - MA Stadium (Residential), Narwal (Residential), and Bari Brahmana (Industrial), on alternate weekdays. For instance, Narwal data on 3-October 4, , 2018, MA Stadium data on October 5 &6, 2018, No data for October 7, 2018 , Bari Brahmana data on 8-9 October, 2018, and so on.
Moreover, the device used for monitoring the air quality, is susceptible to weather conditions, for instance, on 6th and 7th August, 2018, no data could be gathered because of rains. With Air Quality Monitoring Committee (AQMC) in place, the state has taken a step forward in following the directions of NGT, and towards improving air quality standards.
However, it is yet to be seen how and when the air monitoring data on the website is updated. It is hoped that authorities will make good use of technologies like mobile apps, websites, LED displays for 24x7 real-time Air Quality Index, and several other interactive means, for widespread awareness and sensitization regarding air quality levels along with the ways for improving it.



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