The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) is going to set up four Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System (CAAQMS) stations in city. The CAAQMS stations will be installed at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Medical Square; Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s Town Hall, Mahal; Laxminarayan Institute of Technology (LIT), Amravati Road and Visvesvaraya National Institute Of Technology (VNIT). MPCB has initiated to set up total 40 such stations in 26 cities of Maharashtra till the end of the year.
The State already has 23 CAAQMS stations and 78 manual monitoring stations. The MPCB is also planning to increase manual monitoring stations to 126 in near future. The data obtained from CAAQMS stations will be linked to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) server to calculate the Air Quality Index, a number to represent the level of pollution in an area at a given time. Similarly, four manual monitoring stations are there in city at Hingna Road, Sadar, North Ambazari Road and Divisional Commissionerate office in Civil Lines. All these four stations provide air quality data twice in a week. “We have received fund of Rs 3 crore for the project and the tendering process is also initiated.
In the beginning three stations will set up and the VNIT station will be installed afterwards,” said Hema Deshpande, Sub Regional Officer, MPCB, Nagpur. In Maharashtra, 18 cities including Nagpur are under National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), where air quality levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 have crossed national safety standards. Authorities are planning measures to ensure 20 to 30 per cent reduction in pollution levels in the next five years. The setting up of new CAAQMS is seen as an initiative by the MPCB to provide accurate real-time data of pollution levels to implement policies strictly. Medical Square and Mahal areas are the most congested localities in the city. Both localities creates huge amount of air pollution regularly and lack of green belts there we have proposed these areas for the CAAQMS, said Deshpande. For the project, MPCB has already received the permission from the authorities where they are going to install their equipment for continuous monitoring.
While the MPCB is working towards its ambitious plan of delivering clean air to the state by 2022, fast and urgent action, and implementation of measures to tackle pollution from industry, household fuel burning, transport and even wind-blown dust, needs to be undertaken soon to prevent further health damage and poor air quality, said Deshpande.