While the purpose of such data monitoring is to set long-term goals such as manufacturing fuel-efficient jets in the future, city environmentalists said it could be handy in making small changes very soon.
“Vehicles plying on the airfield such as catering vans, airline coaches and oil tankers significantly contribute to emissions at airports.
The data could be used to cut down fuel burns on that front,” said Rakesh Kumar, an environment scientist who heads the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute in Worli.
He added that supply vehicles can be replaced by trolley cars and building more aerobridges can cut down the use of airlines coaches. Currently, aircraft taxiing after touchdown or before taking off are supposed to switch off one engine to reduce fuel burn.
Anti-pollution campaigners however, said that it is difficult to assess the health impacts of pollutants emitted from the airport owing to the vehicular pollution and fossil fuel burns from other sources. “Jet fuel burns are definitely a source of green gas emissions.
But since jet fuel is refined as compared to petrol and diesel, its impact on deteriorating air quality will be less,” said Dr Prabhakar Rao, a retired gynecologist who was part of the group that has campaigned against noise pollution at the city airport since 1984.
Local physicians concurred. “Cases of respiratory ailments such as asthma and other bronchial infections are high in the area, perhaps more than suburbs farther from the airport. But is it difficult to gauge how much of that is owing to emissions made by air traffic,” said Dr Vikas Vadhakar, a general physician at Sahar.
Locals said that while deafening noise levels owing to constant jet movement is a problem, they were unable to cite the difference in air pollution generated at the airfield.
“Smallscale industrial units, garbage burns around the slum pockets and massive vehicular pollution on the stretch makes breathing difficult,” said Jari Mari resident Ashok Surwe.