CEED demands a Clean Air Action Plan for Patna

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Awareness activity at DDYPPP International School echoes concern on rising air pollution

On 27th November 2017, 350 students from Patna’s premier school, Dr. D.Y. Patil Pushapalata Patil International School, unfurled a 100 feet banner that read ‘Patna Needs Clean Air Action Plan’. The public outreach activity was part of the ‘Patna for Healthy Air’ campaign, a citizen’s initiative against air pollution, engined by CEED. Owing to the deteriorating air quality in the city that is currently oscillating between “Severe” and “Very Poor” AQI levels, CEED along with the student body and faculty of the DDYPPP International School, Patna demanded for a Clean Air Action Plan from the Bihar Government. The public outreach activity was aimed to raise awareness on the rising air pollution levels in the city, and its ill-effects on the health of the people.

Air quality data released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) confirms that after a brief spell of relatively cleaner air, the air quality in Patna again started to deteriorate again. The concentration of the particulate matter increased to 331 µg/m³ on 26th November, which is 6 times higher than the safety limits and was recorded highest in the last few days. With the onset of winter, meteorological inversion process and slower wind speed lead to dense smog concentrated with fine particulate matter that degrades the air quality in the city for the entire winter season.

Elaborating further about the current scenario of the air quality in Patna, Ankita Jyoti, Senior Program Officer at CEED, said “The recent health advisory issued by the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) is a welcome step towards warning the citizens against the worsening air quality in the city, so that precautionary action can be taken accordingly. As a member of the civil society, we support this step by BSPCB and look forward to more corrective measures from the board. However, given the high frequency of the days with AQI under the ‘Severe’ category; Patna requires a watertight air quality management plan that involves source profiling and emission inventory of pollution sources, and emission mitigation measures. Therefore, it is important for the government to formulate a comprehensive Clean Air Action Plan.”

Supporting the campaign, Mr. Vijay Kumar, Science teacher at the DDYPPP International School, Patna, said, “Children are likely to be more prone to the ill effects of air pollution. A picture speaks a thousand words, and therefore, through this activity, our students have put forward their demand for the authorities to help us build a healthy breathable environment in our beloved city.”

The Clean Air Action Plan, like any other enforcement framework, should have a set of action priorities as per the emission source, recognised regulations, along with institutional arrangement. Through the programme, we have added hundreds of pledges demanding the urgent formulation of a Clean Air Action Plan for Patna. CEED urges the Bihar Government to take this matter on urgent priority and take immediate measures to curb the pollution levels, along with the formulation of a Clean Air Action Plan, in a time-bound manner. These steps shall help assure an effective and long-term reduction in the levels of air pollution in Patna.