UP pollution board hides behind ‘technicality’ as Noida chokes
As per Central Pollution Control Board, AQI in Noida was 407 at 4pm on Monday, the second highest after Ghaziabad (441) in the country. Activists, residents attribute the problem to “too many meetings, not enough action”noida Updated: Nov 06, 2017 23:09 IST
Residents in Noida complained of inaction by authorities as the air in Noida remained severely polluted and fared poorly on all six parameters of the Central Pollution Control Board for checking air quality.
The air quality index has remained above the 400-mark since November 3, when it was 403. As per Central Pollution Control Board, AQI in Noida was 407 at 4pm on Monday, the second highest after Ghaziabad (441) in the country.
Since Diwali, the AQI has been in the range of 301 to 526; the highest was recorded on October 29.
On Monday, PM 2.5 and PM 10 were as high as 440 microgram per cubic metre (mpcm) and 495 mpcm. The permissible limits for particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10 in India is 60 and 100, respectively.
The UPPCB officials downplayed the severity of the problem and said they are yet to assess the data.
They maintained that these figures have not been assessed by engineers and that the system is “under observation”, hinting that there could be a problem with the correctness of data generated at the automatic air quality monitoring station—the first in Noida which was set up in April this year.
“The central pollution control board is observing the Amity station and the data is yet to be calibrated,” said BB Awasthi, regional officer of UPPCB for Noida.
Questioning the UPPCB’s preparedness, environment lawyer Gaurav Bansal said, “It (the station) has just started operations and it is becoming useful now. How will the UPPCB fight air pollution when they are yet to calibrate the data at a time when the AQI is rising steadily. This shows the serious of UPPCB and other authorities to mitigate air pollution. ”
“Noida is spread on 20,000 hectares of land. It should have at least four more automatic air monitoring stations to supply correct updates to people,” he said.
Environmentalist Vikrant Tongad, who was a part of the Sunday meeting taken by Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority’s (EPCA) chairman Bhure Lal, attributed the inaction to the frequent meetings conducted on measures to check air pollution, followed by no action.
“EPCA chairman directed all officials to take effective steps to reduce air pollution in Noida, where air has become toxic in the last fortnight. The problem is no action has been taken to give relief to people, especially those suffering from respiratory problems,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents blamed rampant burning of garbage, dust from dug-up roads and paddy burning in neighbouring areas for the rise in air pollution.
“Garbage is being burnt in Sector 94 despite the claims by the police and other authorities that they are taking all measures to curb pollution. Burning garbage is a regular practice in many areas, such as Sector 63 and 85; officials have done nothing to check this,” Deepak Chauhan, a resident of Sector 50, said.