PCB to install air quality digital monitoring mechanism in Srinagar

Irfan Rashid

Srinagar:

The State Pollution Control Board (PCB) is developing a digital monitoring mechanism to provide online air quality index of Srinagar city on daily basis.
This project was approved by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) earlier this year. The total cost of the project is approximately 1.2 crore, half of which will be funded by central PCB and other half by state PCB.
Sources said presently PCB is busy in examining the site for its installation and few options for the Board were TRC ground, Exhibition ground and office headquarters.
Presently, there are three pollution mon¬itoring units installed in the valley but they give weekly updates as they are not com¬puterized. These monitoring units have been installed at Khrew, Khanmoh and Lasjan. New equipment would be procured to create a complete online system.
When a person checks official website of JK PCB, http://jkspcb.nic.in/, the last entry under “Monthly Average of AirPollutants” in Jammu section has been made in March 2011 and there is no record available in Srinagar sec¬tion.
But after the new mechanism is in¬stalled, a continuous daily updates shall be available all the time, even for com¬mon citizens. All different types of pol¬lutant ratio will also be available- like percentage of sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and others pollutants.
This way, the PCB wants to create awareness among people about health hazards due to rising pollution.
Dust generated by construction work, increasing vehicles and depleting green cover is making air unhealthy for resi¬dents, which could worsen in the next few years, but people are mostly unaware of this.
“We will also install a big display out¬side the plant where people can read current air quality,” asserts Muhammad Shafi Kenu, regional director JKPCB.
On asking about how to monitor pol¬lution outside city, he replied: “In begin¬ning it will be representative of only Srinagar and after its success, we will extend it to other districts.
Presently air monitoring stations in Khrew, Khanmoh and Lasjan are op¬erational.”
The project is said to be completed within six months.
The suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respiratory suspended particulate matter (RSPM) have witnessed a steep rise in the past two decades in Srinagar city, which has the largest concentration of vehicles per sq km area.
Regional Director PCB Muhammad Shafi Kenu said the system would be based on the same pattern as in New Delhi and preliminary studies had been carried out to create such a system in J&K.
The normal limit of SPM should be 100 microgram and RSPM normal limit is around 200 microgram, but both have seen rising trend recently indicating that the air quality is poor at most of the places in Srinagar.
Respiratory diseases, burning-eye symptoms and skin allergy are main problems which affect the people exposed to air pollution. The pollution level is growing in the city because major con¬centration of population is in a small area.
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