GURUGRAM: Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has missed its December 2017 deadline to set up a second ambient air quality monitoring station in the city. Officials attributed the delay to late floating of tenders for installation of the machine.
Currently, there is only one pollution measuring station in Gurgaon, which is why the HSPCB is unable to monitor PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels — both markers of ambient air quality — across the city in real time.
In August 2016, HSPCB made an announcement to set up another air monitoring station in the city. In March 2017, the board floated a tender, inviting companies to come forward for installation of the machine. And in July last year, HSPCB identified land in Manesar for the station. "Due to some internal issues, HSPCB couldn't roll out tenders in time. The tenders were floated only in March 2017. However, things are still in process. The second air quality monitoring machine is extremely important to know the current state of air pollution in the city so that adequate measures can be taken," a senior HSPCB official told TOI.
Experts said Gurgaon's proximity to the national capital makes it important for the city to have at least two ambient air qaulity monitoring machines.
Niranjan Raje, former member of Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), said, "An ambient air monitoring system is extremely important as it is the first step to understand the state of air pollution in a city so that action can be taken to combat air pollution at a regular basis."
"Moreover, air quality in Delhi will come down unless all required measures are taken by neighbouring states, including Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh," he added.
In 2013-14, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) sanctioned three air quality monitoring stations for Gurgaon and 30 stations (in total) for Haryana. However, HSPCB came up with plans in July 2017 to have 19 monitoring stations in the state as of now.
Currently, air pollution data is taken from only one ambient air quality monitoring machine situated at Vikas Sadan near Rajiv Chowk. Gurgaon has been witnessing high levels of air pollution, especially in the last two years, with AQI crossing the 300 (very poor) mark almost every month. The city often reports highest air pollution in the country.
Apart from setting up an ambient air quality monitoring system, HSPCB planned to upgrade and intensify laboratories located at Gurgaon, Faridabad, Panchkula and Hisar to carry out research and development studies in the field of pollution control and environment management, in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Panipat and Hisar. The plans are still on paper though.