Following the launch of the national air quality index by the Prime Minister on Monday, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has been directed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to create a plan to improve the air quality in Mumbai.
The MPCB said it will take the help of institutes like National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) . VM Motghare, joint director, air pollution control, MPCB said, “We will invite various educational institutes and state government bodies like the transport and planning department to come up with a plan to improve air quality in the city.”
The CPCB has provided a long list of suggestions and measures to improve Mumbai’s air quality to the MPCB recently. These include the promotion of the use of LPG instead of burning coal, introduction of low benzene petrol, ban on the supply of loose oil at petrol stations, checking of fuel adulteration, improvement of the public transport system and higher road tax on older vehicles.
Motghare said the action plan will be made on the basis of these suggestions and once it is in place, a stakeholders meeting will be held with various agencies within the city in the next six months. He said the action plan will focus on how to decrease the levels of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
RSPM are inhalable pollutants such as soot, dust or chemicals, which can cause lung disorders; NOx, released during fuel combustion in vehicles, can also damage the lungs.
Rakesh Kumar, chief scientist, NEERI said, “Our institute will support any initiative that the MPCB undertakes. There was already a six-city study done by NEERI and other institutions under CPCB and the ministry of environment, forest and climate change. That report had suggested an action plan. Local air pollution hotspots should be identified and mitigated.” Motghare said the station at Bandra will be the main focus for calculating air quality.
“We will also incorporate data from our station at Sion. The BMC has six stations in Worli, Khar, Andheri, Bhandup, Borivli and Marvali. NEERI has three stations in Parel, Worli and Kalbadevi. Data accumulated from all these stations will be taken into consideration while making the action plan,” said Motghare.