21 January 2011
By Dipannita Das
Dust From Roads, Vehicle Fumes Add To PM10 In City
If people want to breathe better quality air in the city, steps like paved roads, effective mass transport, tightening of emission norms, uninterrupted powersupplytoeliminategenerators and a ban on 10–yearold vehicles will have to be taken.
These were the key recommendations of the action plan for Pune in the study on air quality taken up by the Central Pollution Control Board. It was supported by the ministry of environment and forests. The monitoring, done in 2007 in Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kanpur and Chennai, showed that all six cities had exceeded the respirable particulate matter (PM 10) limits.
The report, compiled in 2009 and released by the ministry of environment and forests in early January, has an action plan for all six cities.
Contributors to PM 10 emissions are vehicles, road dust and industries. Suspended road dust from paved roads was a major source of PM10 in Pune.
The monitoring locations included CWPRS guest house near Khadakwasla, Shantiban society in Kothrud, Sahakarnagar, College of Engineering Pune, Pune–Solapur highway (Hadapsar), SAJ Test Plant Mundhwa and University of Pune. Delhi and Chennai also showed high occurrences of road dust compared to other sources. Bangalore was the only city with highest PM contribution coming from vehicular emission.
The share of vehicular emissions varied. It was 61 per cent in Mumbai, 7 per cent in Delhi, 14 per cent in Chennai, 18 per cent in Pune, 21 per cent in Kanpur and 41 per cent in Bangalore.
Experts said the situation had worsened in the past three years and hence the action plan was key to urban air quality management.
Rakesh Kumar, scientist and head Mumbai Zonal Centre of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a committee member of the study, told TOI that the action plan was relevant because cities had grown rapidly. "PM 10 is not only from vehicles, but also from sources like re–suspension of dust, bakeries, burning of wood and garbage, road dust and industrial emissions. The coarser fraction of suspended particulate matter are primary irritants and may directly affect our health," he said.
Kumar added that the action plan should be taken up by the government. "The report provides scientific data to policy makers and other stakeholders for formulation of strategies and prioritising actions for improving air quality in urban areas. Several recommendations in the report must be followed up by the government," he said.
The primary focus of the study was respirable particulate matter (PM10), but it also dealt with other pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone and PM 2.5.
The study also found out that nitrogen dioxide levels exceed in the residential areas in Delhi (35%), Pune (6%) and Mumbai (25%). The pollution levels were the highest at industrial sites (SPM, PM10, PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide) in all cities compared to their corresponding residential and background locations.
The nitrogen dioxide levels are higher along the kerbs in six cities. Delhi had the highest pollution at kerbside locations compared to the others. Kanpur, Pune and Mumbai showed similar PM10 (250–300 ug/ m3).
Benzene levels are higher in Bangalore, Pune and Kanpur. Chennai showed a very high elemental carbon (EC) and organic carbon (OC) content (60–75% in PM2.5), followed by Bangalore (35–50%), Delhi (30–45%), Mumbai (30–40%) and Pune (25–40%) and Kanpur (25–35%).
The study was drawn up by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi, Automotive Research Association of India, Pune, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
Health Effects of Smoke
Cancer: Naphtha and benzene are carcinogenic and can cause various forms of cancer. They react with moisture and oxygen to form more poisonous oxides that affect the lungs, liver and stomach
A range of deadly diseases could be triggered by toxic fumes, from bronchitis and to bronchial asthma
Brain: The fumes form ‘dead pockets’ in the lungs where carbon dioxide is stored. This mixes with blood and affects the brain.
Lungs: The toxic smoke can impair the lungs
Options to Work on
- Ban 10–year–old commercial vehicles
- Inspect or maintain all Bharat Stage–II and Bharat Stage–III commercial vehicles, implement Bharat Stage–IV norms
- Improve public transport
- Synchronise traffic signals
- Restrict commercial vehicles entering the city; build ring roads
- Shift to LPG from solid fuel and kerosene
- Better construction practices will reduce 50% particulate matter
- Ban brick kilns in the city
- Strict compliance of ban on open burning, including open eatouts
- Reduction in generator sets by providing uninterrupted power supply
- Pave the roads from end–to end
- Ban new industries in the city limits
- Introduce electric/hybrid vehicles
- OE–CNG for new public transport buses
- Ethanol blending (10% blend)
- Biodiesel (5–10% blend)
- Retro–fitting of diesel oxidation catalyst in fourwheeler public transport
- Retro–fitting of diesel particulate filter in fourwheeler public transport