Alarming pollution levels at Bengaluru's Graphite Junction, says citizen group

Whitefield Rising on Friday urged KSPCB to install a calibrated continuous ambient air quality monitoring station at Graphite India Ltd junction.

Published: 11th August 2018 03:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2018 03:39 AM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only (File | AP)

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Members of citizen group Whitefield Rising on Friday urged the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to install a calibrated continuous ambient air quality monitoring station (CAAQMS) at Graphite India Ltd (GIL) junction and ensure that the company adheres to guidelines by minimising pollution levels in the air at the spot.

"The KSPCB's existing monitoring station near GIL does not display the extent of air pollution. Thus a CAAQMS should be installed and the data should be shared with residents,'' Zibi Jamal of Whitefield Rising told reporters on Friday. Since 1988, the residents have been demanding the closure of GIL, one of the largest manufacturers of carbon and graphite (an important component of smartphones, laptops and computers).

To highlight the scale of pollution, residents in Whitefield were exploring available options when a non-profit organisation Mapshalli and a Class 12 student Varun Ramakrishna came up with AirCare, an indigenously designed sensor to monitor high density particulate matter (PM2.5).

"The crowd-sourced AirCare, priced above `6,000, has been installed at seven areas in and around Whitefield,'' Mapshalli founder Shiv Shankar said. The data generated from real-time tracking revealed that PM2.5 levels at the junction was 3.5 times higher than at all other locations. Jamal said to ensure zero PM2.5, KSPCB should install CAAQMS.

Why numbers cannot be trusted

Radhika, who had worked at the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA, emphasised that there was a mismatch between the world and India’s PM2.5 standards. “The regulatory standards fixed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are at a higher level,’’ she said.

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