BENGALURU: Pollution levels are rising and now the worry is the rising presence of finer particulate matter in the air which is leading to health problems. According to officials in the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), there is a need to assess PM1 (particulate matter), which is finer than PM2.5, and is causing more harm to health.
The officials admitted: “At present they are unable to check on PM1 anywhere in India. However, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and other state pollution control boards including KSPCB are working on how it can be checked, just like the way it is being assessed in other countries.”
An official said the machines will have to be recalibrated to assess PM1 which is the need of the hour. He added that it would be a huge investment, which none of the Boards would be able to bear. “Already in many places, especially in Bengaluru, the stakeholders are not united to mitigate air pollution. Road dust, construction dust and vehicle emission is still not addressed. The 40-point agenda prepared by the state government on the directions of the National Green Tribunal is also not yet met. It will be very difficult in Bengaluru to assess PM-1,” the official explained.
He said the PM-1 levels are rising as materials being used for construction have become more advanced. The machine and tools have improved and the pollutants released are finer. It is very evident when one stands at a road where building and road construction works are in progress, he said.
“One cannot see the fine dust particles, but can feel them’ on the skin and in the mouth. The assigned job of using water sprinklers regularly at construction sites is not being done. The area where construction is being done should be covered, but it is not followed. Prolonged construction is also another matter of worry. In North India, the matter of stubble burning is also a major issue, making the need to assess PM-1 more stronger. They are becoming a matter of worry which is why a series of meetings have started to see how it can be addressed,” the official added.