BENGALURU: A systematic assessment of pollutant levels in the air through air quality monitoring stations in and around Bengaluru by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has completed 35 years.
The worsening air pollution at Anand Rao Circle following increase in high-rise buildings, prompted the board to install the first air quality monitoring station there in 1983. However, it was relocated to the city railway station during the construction of a flyover at Anand Rao Circle.
KSPCB chairman Lakshman said the air quality monitoring programme with two stations in 1983 gradually expanded to the present 14 manual stations, seven continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations (CAAQMS) and six vehicular emission monitoring vehicles. The board hopes to cover the entire city with 42 CAAQMS, which was announced in the state budget.
Lakshman said due to the IT boom, the vehicular density in the city witnessed a whopping 242 per cent growth (about 76 lakh vehicles) within two decades. “Fuel adulteration issues (mixing of diesel with low-cost solvents like turpentine and Benzene) and diesel generator sets (7 per cent of total emission load) are the main reasons behind the high air pollution in Bengaluru,’’ KSPCB officials told Express.
Lakshman also blamed the transport sector for the high concentration of PM10 (fine particles) and poisonous gases like NOX (Nitric oxide) in the air, which aggravates asthama, reduced lung function and acid rain. The data had revealed high concentration in the mornings and evenings.
Based on the CAAQMS railway station data, concentration of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM), which contributes to chronic cough, was found to be higher than the national limit. “The data generated has helped the board to plan many interventions to reduce air pollution and ensure that Bengaluru does not go the New Delhi way,’’ KSPCB Member Secretary G V Ranga Rao had informed delegates at a C40 air quality network convention recently.
SOON, POLLUTION DATA ON APP
The monitoring stations equipped with analysers measure about 15 pollutants and seven meteorological parameters. The data generated every hour are transferred to the digital data display board for the public and uploaded online for analysis and reporting,’’ KSPCB chairman Lakshman said, and added that the data will be made available in a mobile app soon.