Most-polluted city: Ghaziabad to shut 8 factories, spray water on 20 dusty stretches

The air quality index of the Central Pollution Control Board showed Ghaziabad’s air quality at 441 on Monday, putting it in the ‘severe’ category. The AQI was 439 on Sunday.

noida Updated: Nov 07, 2017 13:40 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
air pollution,ghaziabad air pollution,ghaziabad pollution
A cloud of smog covered Ghaziabad on Monday when the air pollution level here was the most severe as compared to all cities in the country. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The pollution level in Ghaziabad has yet again surged to alarming heights, making the city the most polluted city in the country.

The air quality index (AQI) of the Central Pollution Control Board puts Ghaziabad’s air quality at 441 on Monday, putting it in the ‘severe’ category. The AQI was 439 on Sunday.

Taking into account the severity of the situation, Ghaziabad district magistrate Ritu Maheshwari on Monday said her administration has identified 20 major roads where dust pollution is high, thereby shooting up the particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10 levels.

“Multiple departments have been directed to carry out water sprinkling on such roads. The measures will be implemented at the earliest and will be in force for a week. We have also identified nearly eight units which are causing pollution and these will be shut,” she said.

Officials said water sprinkling will be done by different departments and also by agencies taking up works on any of the 20 identified roads. The district magistrate will hold a review meeting on Wednesday.

When the air quality drops to the ‘severe’ category, it means the pollutants are so high that it will ‘affect healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases’. With winter almost here, smoggy conditions have started persisting t in open areas.

On October 30 and 31 too, the city’s AQI had breached the 400 mark, making Ghaziabad the most polluted among 40 and 42 cities, respectively, across the country.

Recently, divisional commissioner Dr Prabhat Kumar had told Hindustan Times that the ‘graded action response plan’ (GRAP) should be implemented at the local level.

However, the authorities are yet to decide upon a full scale plan and have directed certain measures to be taken up on an urgent basis.

“We held a meeting of different departments on Monday and another is scheduled for Wednesday. Various agencies such as the Ghaziabad development authority, the municipal corporation and different municipal councils have been directed to immediately ensure that all under-construction areas are covered and to impose penalties on those not complying with the guidelines,” said Maheshwari.

The directions by the National Green Tribunal regarding the measures to be taken up on construction sites were issued in April 2015.

The air pollution in Ghaziabad is compounded by several factors — pollutants from industrial areas, vehicles and construction sites.

The officials are yet to act on the recent Supreme Court order banning the use of petroleum coke and furnace oil in industrial units. The regional pollution control board had identified 137 such units but have recommended the closure of only one unit.

Ghaziabad has 15 industrial areas and houses nearly 2400 units registered under the Factories Act. The city also has a registered base of 8.9 lakh vehicles and this does not take into the thousands that use the major highways running through the city.

Another major problem is garbage burning on which the municipal corporation has started levying penalties.

The officials said the 300 metric tonne capacity waste to manure plant in Pratap Vihar has started operations but on ‘low scale'. The plant had come up at a cost of Rs 4.5 crore but could not resume full scale operations until now.

First Published: Nov 06, 2017 22:58 IST