In a bid to check air pollution in Mumbai, the state pollution control board will set up 11 new real-time air pollution monitoring stations across the city, eastern and western suburbs by April 2017.
This will take the total number of air quality monitoring stations under the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to 13, with two existing stations at Sion and Bandra.
With 10 existing monitoring and forecasting systems installed by the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) in 2015, five stations at Chembur and 13 from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Mumbai will have one of the largest air monitoring networks for any megacity in India by 2017, said officials from MPCB.
“We have already issued tenders for installation of the stations and over the next 10-15 days, we will be placing orders with different vendors,” said VM Motghare, joint director, MPCB. “We cannot disclose the locations of the stations.”
He added the project will be commissioned by January 30, 2017. “Once our orders are completed, it will take 90-100 days to set up the stations spread across Churchgate to Dahisar. The project completion is likely by April-end,” said Motghare.
The announcement came amidst a panel discussion organised by V Citizens Action Network (VCAN) in south Mumbai on Thursday, where representatives from the state government, doctors, researchers and citizens discussed the problems of air pollution and possible mitigation measures to control them. “Mumbai, Pune and Solapur are three of the 16 most polluted cities in India,” said Swadheen Kshatriya, chief secretary, state government, adding the government plans to plant 50 crore trees in Maharashtra by 2019.
Malini Shankar, additional chief secretary said the city annually records 12,000 deaths due to air pollution. “Everyday 500 new vehicles are registered in Mumbai alone. There is an immediate need for pollution (PUC) checks, every six months and online facilities for the same have been provided,” said Milind Bharambe, joint commissioner, traffic, adding the lives of over 1,500 traffic policemen are at stake.
Researchers from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) said there was a need for source appropriation in Mumbai. “The government needs to put together a new data to understand exact sources of pollution and develop mitigation strategies for each of them,” said Dr Ajay Mathur, director general, TERI.
CITY GETS COOLER
The minimum temperature recorded at 5.30am at Santacruz weather station was 16.4 degrees Celsius, 5.5 degrees below normal. This was the lowest November night temperature since 2012.
In 2012, Mumbai recorded its second lowest November night temperature in the past decade at 14.6 degrees Celsius. However, the lowest for the decade was recorded in 2007 at 14.4 degrees Celsius. The all-time low November minimum was recorded at 13.3 degrees Celsius in 1950.
Low temperatures affected the air quality in the city. On Thursday, Mumbai recorded the pollutant measuring indicator at 257 as the air quality index (AQI), according to System for Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).