70 engineers roped in to check air pollution in Ghaziabad
The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), on the directions of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has directed industrial units in the NCR, including Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar districts, to switch over to piped natural gas (PNG) within 15 days and move away from the use of coal, wood and other solid fuels in order to curb air pollution.
The directions have also been published as a general notice for industrial units operating in districts of Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Hapur, Bulandshahr, Meerut, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.
“The UPPCB has directed that all units using coal, wood or solid fuels should switch over to PNG. This is done to control air pollution. The direction also states that industrial units in areas having PNG supply should switch over as directed. We are awaiting directions and modalities for action in case of non-compliance,” Utsav Sharma, regional manager, UPPCB, said.
According to officials, Ghaziabad has about 200 industrial units that use solid fuels, while Gautam Budh Nagar has about 120. The state board has asked unit owners to switch over to PNG and send a compliance report within 15 days. It has also stated that non-complying units will be solely responsible for closure.
“We are compiling a list of areas where the PNG network is available. We are in touch with Indraprastha Gas Limited officials and details are being gathered about the areas where PNG is available. Noida is fully covered, while only parts of Ghaziabad are covered. After that, we will conduct inspections as directed,” Sharma said.
The air pollution levels in Delhi-NCR witnesses a spike during winter months, with different cities having to resort to the implementation of a graded response action plan (Grap), a special set of preventive measures that needs to be taken whenever the air quality of a particular area touches the severe level.
When Grap was in effect last November, industrial units were told to suspend production for a week. The officials had identified about 316 polluting units in Ghaziabad of which about 210 were using coal and biomass for production purposes.
In 2017, the Environment Pollution Control Authority had termed Anand Vihar, Bhiwadi and Ghaziabad as the three most polluted areas of NCR. The Supreme Court then banned the use of pet coke and furnace oil in industries and asked them to switch to alternative fuels.
70 engineers roped in to check pollution
In order to crackdown on air pollution caused by industrial units in Ghaziabad, the district magistrate has decided to strengthen the checking teams and roped in 70 engineers from different government departments to act as ‘environment enforcement officers’ for checking of emissions and other aspects of the industrial units. As of now, the pollution control board’s regional office is functioning with only four officers who find it tough to track polluters.
District magistrate Dr Ajay Shankar Pandey, during the meeting of the district environment committee, has identified 70 engineers from different departments such as the Ghaziabad Development Authority, the civic body, and public works department and has asked pollution control board officials to act as master trainers.
“The four officials of the UPPCB find it difficult to inspect hundreds of industrial units and keep track of polluters. In such a case, we have asked the UPPCB officers to act as master trainers and train 70 engineers for the task,” Pandey, said.
“Once the training is over in a fortnight, the district will have a ready team of 70 who will be asked to conduct surprise inspections and recommend action against polluters,” he added.
The officials said that the move with strengthen the workforce availability and will also act as a deterrent for erring units.