Air pollution studies for 19 cities in Maharashtra to be completed by 2023 | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Air pollution studies for 19 cities in Maharashtra to be completed by 2023

ByPrayag Arora-Desai
Dec 24, 2021 12:10 AM IST

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) will complete mandatory source apportionment studies by March 2023 for 19 non-attainment cities

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) will complete mandatory source apportionment studies by March 2023 for 19 non-attainment cities —where air quality does not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) —officials confirmed this week.

Mumbai, India - Sept. 19, 2020:High level of air pollution coming out from industries in Mahul, Chembur in Mumbai, India, on Monday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times) (Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India - Sept. 19, 2020:High level of air pollution coming out from industries in Mahul, Chembur in Mumbai, India, on Monday, September 19, 2020. (Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times) (Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)

The source apportionment studies are being carried out for those cities with the highest concentrations of PM10 pollutants.

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Non-attainment cities under the Centre’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) are classified as those that consistently fail to meet the NAAQS for PM10 or nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over five years.

Maharashtra currently has a total of 25 non-attainment cities and five cantonment boards. Officials from the state pollution control board clarified, however, that the bulk of source apportionment studies is nearly complete, with final reports due by January 2022 for the first 10 cities, including Mumbai.

The others include Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Amravati, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Chandrapur, Solapur and Navi Mumbai. While a similar study for Mumbai has previously been done by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in 2010, the remaining cities have not yet been studied to identify the sources of their air pollution, officials said. Interim analysis reports for these 10 cities have also been submitted to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), officials in the MPCB confirmed but said they are not authorised to discuss the findings. Dr VM Motghare, joint director (air), MPCB, was busy and could not respond to requests for comment.

A sub-regional officer with the MPCB shared, “We have also submitted interim source apportionment reports for Ulhasnagar, Akola, Jalgaon, Sangli, Badlapur and Latur to the CPCB as well. Those cities belong to the second phase of the exercise and the final reports will only be ready by March or April next year. In the third phase, we will focus on Thane and Vasai-Virar, for which a work order has just been issued last month. The monitoring work in these cities is being done by NEERI and IIT-Bombay, and the scheduled timeline for completion is October 2023.”

He also informed that source apportionment studies are mandatory for all non-attainment cities under the National Clean Air Program, but Maharashtra had already commissioned its studies before the inception of the NCAP.

In addition to source apportionment studies—which involve the identification of ambient air pollution sources and the quantification of their contribution to overall pollution levels — the MPCB has also commissioned ‘carrying capacity’ studies for Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Mumbai. Of these, studies for Nagpur and Navi Mumbai have already been awarded “on an experimental basis” to NEERI, for 6 crore, and are slated for completion by June 2022. For Mumbai and Pune, carrying capacity studies will be carried out jointly by the Central Pollution Control Board and the MPCB. Timelines and budgets for these are yet to be allotted.

“Carrying capacity studies are important tools for urban planning. They will help us define in numbers the maximum level of pressure that a city’s environment can handle from anthropogenic sources, such as industries, vehicles and infrastructure. The study will take into account projected population growth in the city and see whether it can be sustained without further damage to the environment,” the MPCB official cited above explained, adding that such studies may also be commissioned after June 2022 in other large urban agglomerations within Maharashtra.

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