An independent watch station set up inside the Mumbai airfield will soon keep tab of pollutants emitted by planes before they blend into the air.
More than 700 planes take off and land every day at the city airport
Acting on a circular issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the city airport operator will set up air quality monitoring stations to gauge emissions within the airport boundary and study their impact on the densely-populated residential areas nearby.
A Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson confirmed the development.
“We will take necessary action to comply with the monitoring and reporting requirements prescribed by the DGCA,” said the spokesperson.
While the airport already monitors ambient air quality in line with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the new DGCA circular demands a much more detailed documentation of emissions generated by flight operations.
“The end goal is to reduce emissions, but to achieve that we first need to measure our carbon footprint,” said a senior DGCA official, requesting anonymity.
According to the directive, the watch station is supposed to accumulate data on hazardous gases such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter.
Airport officials said these are the common greenhouse gases emitted by aircraft engines, stationary units such as power plants, generators, air-conditioning and heating units.
While take-offs and landings pollute the ground-level air, the bigger threat to residential pockets surrounding the airport come from emissions generated by jets soon after take-off or when a flight is on its final approach path.
“The emission from aircraft up to 1,000 feet above ground level adversely impacts air quality because they get scattered with wind and blend with greenhouse gases emitted from other sources such as vehicles and industries,” said an airport official, requesting anonymity.