Owing to non-availability of equipment, the Madhya Pradesh pollution control board is unable to measure three air pollutants -- carbon monoxide, benzene and benzo(a)pyrene -- in the state capital. These pollutants are major source of respiratory diseases.
Under National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) 2009, a state pollution control board is mandated to monitor 12 parameters.
A board official, wishing not to be named, told HT: “Carbon monoxide, benzene, benzo(a)pyrene-levels are not measured in Bhopal as we are yet to procure equipment for it. We recently started measuring ammonia level in Bhopal. At present, besides ammonia, we are measuring sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, P10, P2.5, ozone, lead, arsenic and nickel.”
Besides Bhopal, the board monitors air pollution in 13 other cities/towns of the state.
PS Bundela, the pollution control board’s regional officer, said they were in the process of procuring equipment for measuring the three remaining parameters.
‘Leaving a parameter like carbon monoxide can be highly harmful’
Environmentalist Subhash Pandey, who had filed a petition on poor quality of air in Bhopal in the National Green Tribunal, said according to the 2009 notification issued by central pollution control board, a state pollution control board is bound to measure air pollution levels on all 12 prescribed parameters.
“Leaving a parameter like carbon monoxide, can be highly harmful to the people, animals and environment as a whole. Its exposure causes many problems and affects body’s ability to use oxygen,” he said.
Pandey said instead of just 13 cities, the board should measure air pollution levels in the state’s 51 districts.
In January, the green regulator admitted Pandey’s petition complaining that air pollution levels in Bhopal have reached alarming levels.
He said the levels of PM2.5 -- the fine particles linked to higher rates of chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and lung disease -- in the city are 11 times higher than the permissible limit. While levels of respirable suspended particulate matter or P10 are 12 times higher than the permissible limit.