Tribune News Service
Solan, November 13
The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has finally woken up to chalk out an action plan to address air pollution in the state’s industrial hub of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) after it figured in the list of non-attainment cities where the ambient air quality was not at par with the National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQ) norms.
Though the plan was yet to be put into action, it has been submitted to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) which had taken serious note of the fact that ambient air quality has failed to be maintained since 2011.
The level of particulate matter (PM) was above the permissible limit in various industrial clusters with Kala Amb in Sirmaur district and Damtal in Kangra district showing the most adverse results since 2011. As against the permissible PM10 limit of 60 µg/ m³, its value ranged from 118 to 83 in a majority of these cities in the recent years. Improvement was only found in Parwanoo where against the earlier value of 87 µg/ m³, its presence was reduced to 61. Sensing the seriousness of the situation, officials of the SPCB had directed various departments like the Municipal Committees of Baddi and Nalagarh, BBN Development Authority, Transport and Public Works to chalk out action plans to mitigate air pollution. But despite several reminders little was done by them to propose any stringent measure.
The officials of the SPCB, however, proposed a slew of measures to contain air pollution. Executive Engineer, SPCB, Baddi, while elaborating on the proposed measures, said various factors had been identified as potential source of pollution and a targeted approach has been proposed.
It has been proposed that the unorganised scrap dealers which burn scrap at various places should be given a designated place to operate where their activities can be monitored. It was found that the unscientific burning of toxic-ridden scrap often led to worst air pollution.
The unhygienic slum dwellers were found to be another contributor to air pollution due to the use of fuel wood and other cheap fuel for cooking and other needs. Measures to regulate these slums have been proposed by the board officials.
With at least 12 industries using husk-fired boilers these were also seen as a major cause of air pollution. It has been proposed to use saw dust-based brickets to undo the harmful effect of husk-fired boilers.
It has also been proposed that the Municipal Committees of Baddi and Nalagarh would place interlocking tiles along the road beams to reduce air pollution. Other options like switching over to the CNG fuel and restricting heavy traffic on major roads of the BBN for specific hours have also been proposed. With traffic jams proving to be a major contributor of air pollution measures like double-laning of two major bridges - Balad and main Baddi bridge - have also been recommended. With the work to lay sewage lines on the Sai Road in Baddi hanging fire for several months, officials also pointed out that plumes of dust could be seen flying on the road and this necessitated the need for speeding the work.
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