Bihar pollution board seeks check on air pollution amid Covid-19 surge
The prevailing scenario necessitated framing of city-based micro level planning to ensure smooth implementation of the clean air action plan, said an official.
With the air quality index (AQI) in Patna and other cities remaining in the range between poor to hazardous, the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) has reiterated the need for government agencies’ help to curb toxic emissions and release of particles suspended in the air.
In view of the rise in coronavirus cases, said to worsen and spread rapidly when the air quality is poor, BSPCB chairman Ashok Ghosh said the board will again sent letters to all the concerned departments, such as road construction, building construction, road and urban development seeking strict adherence to the clean air action plan and steps to check contamination of air. Nearly 800-1000 Covid-19 positive cases are being reported in Bihar after the resurgence of the disease in the past few days.
Citing the recent study on factors for ambient air pollution, Ghosh said that neighbourhood or outside boundary sources were the major contributors for deterioration in AQI in Patna. “Domestic pollution, which is mainly caused due to biomass burning, is another major issue that the government should step in to address,” added the chairman.
He said department of transport and industries were no longer contributing to the worsening AQI. “The Board has embarked up on a major drive to install state of the art air quality monitoring stations across the state to know the source of pollutants and take corrective steps to check them at the source,” said Ghosh.
Chief executive officer of the Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) Ramapati Kumar said that the prevailing scenario necessitated framing of city-based micro level planning to ensure smooth implementation of the clean air action plan. “The district level officers should be sensitised about strategy and implementation process of the plan. Apart from this, the government shall act on achieving low-hanging fruits such as replacing solid fuel with cleaner sources,” said Kumar.
After strengthening the network to monitor AQI in Patna, the BSPCB has initiated steps to install air quality monitoring stations in 24 districts, besides Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur and Vaishali, this year. The board earlier proposed to set up air quality monitoring stations in all 38 districts, but availability of fund from both the Centre and the state government, restricted the plan to 24 districts of Valmikinagar, Siwan, Chapra, Buxar, Ara, Sasaram, Motihari, Bettiah, Muzaffapur, Aurangabad, Gaya, Rajgir, Begusarai, Bihar Sharif, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Muger, Saharsa, Bhagalpur, Katihar, Purnia, Araria and Kishanganj.