HYDERABAD: Pollution mitigation received no attention in this year’s state budget although the state capital is plagued with air and water pollution. While it is not mandatory for state governments to allocate money in their budgets to their respective state pollution control boards, like the Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB), keeping this in mind few States allocated funds to control pollution. For example, the Delhi government on Thursday termed its budget as ‘green budget’ aiming to reduce about 21 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
The Karnataka government, in its budget this year, allocated Rs 96 crore for installation of 42 new real-time air pollution monitoring stations across the state. Kerala government allocated Rs13.85 crore for ecological restoration of Pamba river.
Hyderabad has a network of just six Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) that provide air pollution levels in real time, data from which is updated in real time on public domain on the National Air Quality Index (NAQI) website. Of the six, only one, located at Hyderabad Zoo, gives some idea of pollution levels in the city area. Of the other stations, three are located in industrial areas of Bollaram, Pashamylaram and Patancheru and two are at the University of Hyderabad and ICRISAT in Patancheru. There are around 12 other pollution monitoring units in the city. However, they do not give out data in real time as they are manually operated and their data is not placed on public domain.
Apart from Hyderabad, other places like Ramagundam, Karimnagar, Khammam, Nizamabad, Mancherial, Warangal and Nalgonda which have polluting industries, including thermal power plants, have just one or two air pollution monitoring stations. Moreover, the data from these pollution monitoring stations is not uploaded on NAQI’s website. TSPCB generates revenue in various modes like fees charged to industries for application or renewal of Consent for Establishment or Consent for Operation. This revenue generated by TSPCB and some grants received from the Central Pollution Control Board or projects in partnership with organisations like World Bank are the only sources of money to TSPCB.
Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, Greenpeace India, said, “State governments should actively fund the state pollution control boards (SPCB), although it is not mandatory, for the sake of public health. Funding by state governments will help in strengthening the network of real-time air quality monitoring network not just in capital cities but also in upcoming cities which also suffer air pollution. The funding by state governments will also help SPCBs improve their manpower that can be invested more in keeping a tab on industries for adherence to pollution-control norms.”
City has a network of just six Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations
There are around 12 other pollution monitoring units in the city. However, they do not give out data in real time as they are manually operated and the data is not placed on public domain
Dissolved oxygen values recorded in some of the city’s lakes are less than 1 mg/L which is less than the minimum value