Dehradun: Clean Air Asia (CAA), an organization that is working towards clean air management in around 1,000 cities across Asia, including five in India, will now monitor pollution levels in Dehradun, the first north Indian city where CAA’s projects will be executed. After deliberation on ways to track and reduce air pollution, particulate matter (PM 2.5) monitoring stations are also being planned in the city.
The PM 2.5 level monitoring station will monitor the hourly change in level of the particulate matter, through which weekly and monthly data can be calculated. In the past week, Dehradun has recorded around 190-230 ug/m3, the highest being at ISBT and lowest at Clock Tower.
The need to monitor air quality gained relevance after the hill capital recorded PM10 levels higher than bigger towns such as Noida, Kanpur and Ghaziabad. According to the findings of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)’s ambient air quality index of 273 cities, released in January this year, Dehradun stood at 241, which was higher than Ghaziabad (235) Noida (176) and Moradabad (196).
The organization was invited by the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) to help improve air quality in the city. According to a WHO survey, Dehradun ranked 31 among the most polluted cities of the world. A Green Peace India survey had ranked Dehradun 5th in the list of most polluted cities in the country.
CAA, with support from Japan, is already assessing air quality management in 30 Indian cities and facilitating air action plan in five cities — Kochi, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati and Lucknow. Dehradun is the sixth city selected by the organization.
Member secretary UEPPCB, SP Subudhi, said that most of the pollution is caused by vehicles, constructions and burning of garbage. “Pollution levels are on the rise in the city and to deal with the menace, we invited all the stakeholders and a draft plan will be prepared soon. The board is also planning to put up a particulate matter (PM 2.5) level monitoring station in the city by May. There are three station to measure PM 10 levels in the city but none to measure PM 2.5 level, and the PM 2.5 is a bigger threat to our health.”
Subudhi added that the city lacks trained manpower to measure the crucial PM 2.5 level. “We plan to install a PM2.5 station to monitor pollution hourly and find out ways to reduce pollution levels in the city. Average PM 10 level last week in the city has been around 190-230 ug/m3, the highest being at ISBT and lowest at Clock Tower, which is very high for a city like Dehradun.”
On Wednesday, CAA in partnership with the UEPPCB and Gati Foundation facilitated consultation with concerned stakeholders from the transport and health department, Dehradun municipal corporation, Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority, NGOs and citizen groups to promote better air quality management in the hill capital.
Prarthna Borah, India director of CAA, said, “We are working on reducing air pollution and green house gas emission in 1,000 cities in Asia through policies and programmes. Kashipur and Haridwar also do not fulfill the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.”
Borah added that CAA will assess pollution causing factors through scientific studies and provide solutions after identifying the sources through technology to improve capacity of government agencies to tackle pollution in Dehradun.