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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Mahrashtra Pollution Control Board’s real-time data for pollution goes live

After a six-month delay, information from 13 monitoring stations to be available on website

mumbai Updated: Nov 12, 2018 01:02 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Post Diwali, Mumbai’s air quality improved to ‘moderate’ on Sunday.
Post Diwali, Mumbai’s air quality improved to ‘moderate’ on Sunday. (HT Photo)

After a delay of more than six months and following criticism from anti-air pollution activists, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board’s (MPCB) real-time air quality monitoring system for the city went live on its website on Saturday.

Air quality information from 13 stations – Vile Parle, Kandivli, Sion, Kurla, Borivli, Worli, Mulund, Powai, Colaba, Nerul, Kalyan, Vasai-Virar, and Mahape – is available with real-time updates on pollutants such as particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, etc. However, information from stations at Santacruz and Dombivli is yet to go live.

The stations were proposed in 2017 and the data was expected to be made public from April 2018. The stations were inaugurated in June. Despite MPCB’s claim that data would be available within 15 days of the inauguration, it took the state pollution control body four more months. “Citizens will now have official and reliable air quality information of areas across Mumbai. Monthly and annual averages of this data will be submitted to the state and central agencies for final tabulation and declaration of ambient air quality reports for Mumbai,” said E Ravendiran, member secretary, MPCB. He added the process took some time owing to some “technical issues”, but information for the two additional stations will be uploaded soon. He also said MPCB intends to add more 24-hour online monitoring stations across Maharashtra. “In a couple of months, work will start on developing a robust network for the state, along with an action plan for major cities.”

MPCB’s move comes after criticism from activists. “At a time when it should be addressing issues related to pollution sources and developing action plans, the MPCB is still completing the basic process of monitoring. There has to be more urgency,” said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, Greenpeace India. Stalin D, director, NGO Vanashakti, said the fact that Mumbai is classified as one of the most polluted megacities is because of MPCB’s negligence.

A 2017 study by the Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering (CESE), IIT-B, found Mumbaiites were most worried about air pollution as treating diseases caused by it costs a family of four in Mumbai ₹1.68 lakh, or ₹42,000 for every person, annually. As per data collated by Greenpeace India from 2015 and 2016, Maharashtra has 25 cities that witness air pollution above the permissible annual levels for PM10. Seventeen of them are non-attainment areas — where the air quality is worse than the standard set — by the Central Pollution Control Board in 2016.

First Published: Nov 12, 2018 01:01 IST

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