Friday, February 20, 2015

Agencies Refusing to Share Monitoring Data in Delhi

In the absence of an integrated approach to deal with Delhi’s air pollution, the issue has created a lot of hot air but almost no action. The reason is simple; lack of political will as cleaning the air would mean some harsh measures. But time has come to enforce them or else living in national capital will become a health hazard. The city does not have traffic and industry management plan for high pollution days like many other cities across the world, including Beijing. The government authorities don’t even issue advisories to people despite the city having over 26 real time monitoring stations — highest for any metro in the country — and Delhi’s particulate matter (PM) pollution this winter has been worst since 2000.

Real time AQI in Delhi

The plan to issue an advisory about worst polluted areas was initiated during Commonwealth Games 2010 but it had remained on paper. A senior environment ministry official blamed monitoring agencies working in silos for the failure. “One agency was not willing to share its data with another,” he said. Since September 2013, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee having six real-time air pollution monitoring stations has not shared its pollution data with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), mandated to issue the advisory. Parallel to this, the Ministry of Earth Sciences also set up its own 10 pollution monitoring stations in the capital during the games but refused to collaborate with CPCB or DPCC.

Read more @ Hindustan Times

“You need will and it can happen,” Anumita Roy Chaudhary of Centre for Science and Environment said, recalling how Supreme Court pushed Delhi government in 2000 to introduce Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as alternate fuel and Delhi’s pollution dipped by almost 50% in a few years. This time the measures needed may be harsher as PM 2.5 microns that enter deep inside one’s lungs and can trigger heart attack was 20 times higher than the safe level prescribed by the government in Delhi.

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