More than 50 percent of the days in 2017 had bad air quality in the city
In a recent analysis conducted by CEED, Muzaffarpur was found to be perpetually under dangerous levels of air pollution in the year 2017, putting its citizens at serious health risks. CEED studied the ambient air quality data from the real time monitoring station of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to understand the air quality of Muzaffarpur for the year 2017 (https://goo.gl/vue4mW). In 2017, it was observed that more than half of the days (58%) in Muzaffarpur had bad air quality. Out of these, 43% were under ‘Very Poor’ to ‘Severe+’ air quality. The remaining days had ‘Good’ (18%), and ‘Satisfactory’ (24%) air quality. Muzaffarpur suffered with the worst air quality of the year on 28th February, with PM2.5 recorded at 985 μg/m3, which is over 16 times higher than the national standard.
CEED had published a similar air quality bulletin for 2016, intended to understand the air quality of Muzaffarpur. Comparing the two factsheets, it was noted that the annual average concentration of PM2.5 in Muzaffarpur was slightly better at 114 µg/m³ in 2017; compared to the previous year (2016), when it was 119 µg/m³. However, it was still 3 times more than the national standard.
The report also highlighted February as the most polluted month of the year 2017 for the city. The monthly mean concentration of PM2.5 in February was calculated as 225 μg/m3, followed by January (223 μg/m3 ) and December (217 μg/m3), 2017. Additional analysis of the 24-hour concentration of PM2.5 for 341 monitored days, shows that the particulate matter concentration was recorded more than 2-6 times the safe limits for 117 days.
Elaborating on the findings, Ms. Ankita Jyoti, Senior Programme Officer at CEED, says that “Vehicular emissions, along with solid fuel burning for cooking, heating, and brick-kiln emission has resulted in rising air pollution in the city. Open burning of waste and contribution of sources outside the city’s airfield are other key contributors of the spiral rise of particulate emission in 2017.” Ms. Jyoti further added that “While keeping the urgency of the situation in mind, the state government should chalk out an affirmative ‘Clean Air Action Plan’. The action plan should identify a set of action priorities as per emission source, recognised regulations, and should also include institutional arrangement that will set it on track to mitigate pollution. It is essential for the city to have a source apportionment study in order to understand the emission profile of each of the polluting sectors.”
Besides, Bihar should work out a targeted action plan to reduce emissions from all sources, and stringent measures should be employed to clean the ambient air. CEED urges the Bihar Government to take concrete measures to improve the air quality of the city.