There is a construction boom in Ghaziabad, one of the most affordable destinations in the National Capital Region (NCR). But this Uttar Pradesh district is clueless about the environmental cost it is incurring for the development. Reason: Ghaziabad is ill-equipped to get an estimate of the real pollution surrounding it.
Ghaziabad has recently shown alarming signs of rise in PM10 and PM2.5 levels, but the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) regional office in Ghaziabad has just three permanent monitoring stations for the entire district. These include one at its own office building in Vasundhara to measure PM2.5 and PM10 levels, and the other two in the Sahibabad and Bulandshahr industrial areas to measure PM10 levels.
Ghaziabad, which is spread around 70km in length and 30km in breadth, has a massive registered vehicle base of about 8 lakh. Add to this the thousands of other vehicles that pass through major highways such NH-24, NH-58, GT-Road and state highway 57.
The city has already recorded between 78 micrograms/cubic meter and 208 micrograms/cubic meter of PM2.5 from November 2014 to March this year. This is way above the permissible limit of up to 60 micrograms/cubic meter.
PM10 levels are also on the rise and have been recorded between 144 microgram/cubic meter and 443 microgram/cubic meter between November 2014 and March, against a permissible level of 100 microgram/cubic meter.
The three monitoring stations do not give residents of Ghaziabad the true picture as there is no monitoring of pollution in areas that are seeing massive construction activities. Apart from Rajnagar Extention near NH 58 where residential apartments are being built, two big townships are under construction around NH 24 and a lot of activity is also happening in Loni. However, there are no monitoring stations near these places.
UPPCB regional manager Parasnath Yadav declined comment and directed the reporter to a scientist. The department officials, however, said they already had 7 and 3 monitoring equipment for PM10 and PM2.5, respectively.
“These will be used up when we open two new permanent monitoring stations at Lohiya Nagar and the other at Indraprastha College at Sahibabad Industrial area. The equipment not installed at any sites are used for need-based monitoring,” said the scientist at the UPPCB regional office.
The scientist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the decision to have just three monitoring stations was based on Central Pollution Control Board recommendations. But she failed to explain why the department procured the extra equipment that have not been installed so far.