Bad air: Noida has only itself to blameUpdated: Nov 14, 2019 22:15 IST
Noida: Local factors are majorly to blame for Noida being the most polluted city in the country, a dubious honour it shared with neighbouring Ghaziabad on Thursday. Both cities had recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 486 or severe, on a scale of 0 to 500
Weather analysts said the severe AQI was majorly due to weather conditions such as a drop in wind speed, but local factors played a major role in influencing the air quality. Although industries have been shut and construction activities banned till November 15 to control pollution, the dust from roadside, construction and demolition (C&D) waste, open mounds of soil and garbage burning are killing the air quality.
While water is being sprinkled on dusty roads and penalties are being imposed on those breaking norms, a number of regions across the city— sectors 76, 21-A, Faridabad Noida Greater Noida (FNG) Road, areas around Sector 16, Noida Stadium, and Gaur Chawk — continue to be extremely dusty.
According to Noida authority, plans are underway to create ‘dust-free’ zones by growing grass in open areas and by making permanent management complexes for C&D waste.
“Open soil, semi-constructed projects or uncovered debris continue to be major factors influencing air quality. Be it Sector 21-A, 76, FNG or Gaur Chowk, there are always areas that are exposed to the elements. Officials should either cover such areas, concrete them, grow grass or develop a park— that’s the only solution,” Rajeeva Singh, president, Noida Federation of Apartment Owners Association (NOFAA), said.
“No matter how slow the winds are, dust from loose soil will disperse. Even vehicular movement is enough to disperse the dust,” Shambhavi Shukla, programme officer, clean air, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said.
Meanwhile, C&D waste and municipal waste is being stored in an open area in Sector 21A, behind Noida Stadium, in a blatant violation of environment norms. It’s one of the main sources of pollution in the city.
“We have given contract to a private firm to manage all C&D waste from the city for which 5 acres are being developed in Sector 80. All debris, which is being dumped on roadsides or plots such as the one in Sector 21-A, will be shifted there soon,” Indu Prakash, officer on special duty, Noida authority, said. He said 10 companies have been shortlisted to manage garbage.
As per the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), the construction hot spots are Greater Noida West, sector 72-79 stretch, and all sectors along Noida Greater-Noida corridor. Traffic congestion points are Sector 18, Kisan Chowk, Gaur Chowk, and Pari Chawk. In sectors 21-A, 1 and 62, waste dumping and construction of Delhi-Meerut Expressway are the main sources of pollution.
Of Noida’s four monitoring stations, the ones in Sector 62 and Sector 1 recorded the highest levels of pollution Thursday.
“Sector 1 doesn’t have industries or other influences but the region shares the border with Delhi and we are down wind, so the air quality of Sector 1 is currently affected by pollutants coming in from Delhi,” Anil Kumar Singh, regional officer, UPPCB, Noida, said.
But a spot check showed that the junction of FNG-Sector 69 had mounds of loose soil left uncovered. Same was the situation along the roads near Sector 76 Metro station, Gaur Chowk, towards Pari Chowk and Surajpur Chowk. Soil and dust were being dispersed throughout the air by vehicles speeding by.
“There are some patches here and there, but we have made about 210km of road length dust-free by covering the roadsides with grass. This controls dust and make these stretches pleasing to the eye. We have already started tendering to cover another 175km of roadside with grass,” Rajiv Tyagi, general manager, Noida authority, said.