January 17, 2012
By Gokul Chandrasekar
The Tribune India
Solan The Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board will soon undertake a study on ambient air quality in Solan district where monitoring of trace metals and toxic compounds will be undertaken.
The IIT-Kanpur has been assigned this study which will be undertaken in 25 locations across the district and assistance will be sought from eight national air quality stations of the board running at various locations. The filter paper analysis for metals, benzene and PAH will be done by the IIT-Kanpur.
These locations will be finalised by the board officials in consultation with the team of the IIT-Kanpur and the study has been approved in the recent meeting of the Board of Management.
The study will include all pollutants included in the revised national ambient air quality norms like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, ammonia, benzene, benzo pyrene, arsenic and nickel as per the November 2009 ambient air quality standards laid down by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
With reports of carcinogenic volatile organic compounds being found in the states industrial hub of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh in an air sampling conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board last year, it had become imperative for the state board to get this study conducted.
This was also crucial as the state lacked the mechanism to monitor several new parameters which had been introduced in the revised ambient air quality monitoring by the CPCB in November 2009.
The study will therefore help the board to devise strategies to effectively monitor air quality in the states industrial hub which accounts for 70 per cent of the state’s industries.
Apart from the industries, which emit noxious chemicals, the study will also help assess the adverse impact of cement units on the habitations by undertaking air modelling.
The first-ever study which is being undertaken by the board in the state will also help assess the extent of health risk to the people residing in the vicinity of such industries as the CPCB report had pointed out that 10 VOCs – benzene, toluene, m-xylene, bromo benzene, 135 methyl benzene, 124 methyl benzene, p-iso pro toluene, n-buytl benzene and 124 trichloro benzene – has been detected at alarming levels from various in the BBN.
Earlier, a NGO, Him Parivesh, in association with the Chennai-based Community Environment Monitoring had undertaken air sampling and it had detected that these chemicals target eyes, skin and respiratory system, central nervous system, liver, kidneys, reproductive system and even cardiovascular system, blood, heart and peripheral nervous system. With the detection of two carcinogens, the risk of locals getting cancer had risen as chloroform and methyelene chloride had been detected much above the safe limit.