23 Nov 2023

Bhopal AQI rises above 300; Kolar six-lane project major contributor to air pollution


According to environmentalists, in Bhopal, open constructions contribute to 65% of air pollution, while vehicular emissions make up 30%, and biomass burning accounts for 5% to 7%. Post-Diwali, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the city has risen above 300.

The AQI is a yardstick that runs from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern. For example, an AQI value of 50 or below represents good air quality, while an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality.

The Kolar six-lane project is a major contributor to air pollution in the state capital, with the construction company failing to adhere to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) guidelines. 

Environmental concerns have been raised by Dr. SC Pandey, who highlighted that the Kolar six-lane project is a significant cause of air pollution in the city. He emphasized the construction company was flouting MoEF guidelines, such as the use of sprinklers within 200 meters of the construction site to settle dust. 

Set up more PUC outlets: Commissioner

Dr. Pawan Kumar Sharma, the divisional commissioner, has directed to set up more Pollution Under Control (PUC) outlets in the city. However, the high cost of PUC certificates, priced at Rs 500, is deterring people from undergoing fitness checkups, even though petrol costs around Rs 110 per liter.

Vehicular pollution is also contributing to poor air quality, and the expensive PUC certificate is discouraging motorists from seeking fitness checks.

Green activist Rashid Noor Khan pointed out that ongoing construction works contribute significantly to air pollution in Bhopal, with a lack of compliance even after orders from the National Green Tribunal (NGT). He noted the absence of dust-settling measures and nets to prevent dust spread during construction.

Vehicular pollution and stubble burning contribute to air pollution

Brijesh Sharma, the regional officer of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB), identified transportation, vehicular emissions, and burning of garbage as major factors contributing to air pollution in Bhopal. He called for the PUC rate to be reduced, suggesting it should be provided free of cost at fuel stations. Additionally, he emphasized that not only traditional tandoors but also vehicular pollution and stubble burning in agriculture farms contribute to air pollution.

In response, the district collector Asheesh Singh has directed petrol pumps to offer free PUC on full tank fuel, according to Ajay Singh, the president of the petrol pump dealers' association.

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