CEED’s continuous monitoring of air quality data reveals alarming air pollution levels in the schools of Patna

CEED demands from the Government to issue health advisory for bad air quality days.

clean-air

CEED released the findings of the level of air pollution inside educational institutions (school/college) in Patna in order to examine the extent of air pollution risks on the health of children. The study investigates the level of exposure of air pollution prevalent inside institute’s premises, based on the data from the air quality monitoring devices installed in the four institutions in Patna. The study also underlines the vulnerability of the younger population due to the short-term particulate matter exposer of PM2.5.

The 24-hour air-quality monitoring data for all studied institutions breached the World Health Organization’s safety limits by 17 times and the national safety limits by 7 times. It was also observed that the real time monitoring of air quality did not record a single day under the ‘Good’ or ‘Satisfactory’ category, across all the institutions. The concentration of particulate matter in all the samples is higher during the mornings and late morning hours, compared to the noon and evening hours. This variation in concentration raises serious concerns for the students, especially for the ones below the age of five, since their school’s arrival and departure timings lie within the period when the exposure level is higher (6 a.m. – 12 p.m.).

The average concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 for 12 days were observed to be the highest in Institute-3, located in Buddha Colony. The average concentration of PM10 was calculated to be 417 μg/m3 and PM2.5 to be 377 μg/m3. The average PM10 concentration for Institute-1, Institute- 2 and Institute-4 located in Ashok Rajapth, R-Block and Ashiana were calculated to be 343 μg/m3, 278 μg/m3 and 388 μg/m3 respectively. While the average PM2.5 concentration for these institutes were 279 μg/m3, 244 μg/m3 and 247 μg/m3 respectively.

Further, the study also monitored and calculated the highest peak based on its continuous 1 hour real time data for the time period between 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. The maximum concentration of particulate matter (PM10) was observed to be 729 μg/m3 for Institute-3, which is located in Buddha Colony. The continuous exposure to this level of pollution can severely impact the student’s health and well-being, and shall aggravate further complications for those already suffering from respiratory ailments.

The following table provides estimates of air quality of selected premises:

Sample Station

Maximum Peak

Date

Minimum Peak

Date

PM10

PM2.5

PM10

PM2.5

School-I

619 μg/m3

525μg/ m3

21th Nov.

121 μg/m3

79 μg/m3

16th Nov

School-II

432 μg/m3

393 μg/m3

21st/25 Nov.

95 μg/m3

69 μg/m3

17th Nov

School-III

729 μg/m3

789 μg/m3

21/18 Nov

137 μg/m3

101 μg/m3

16th Nov

School-IV

680 μg/m3

479 μg/m3

21 Nov

125 μg/m3

65 μg/m3

16th Nov

Ankita Jyoti of CEED elucidates that the air pollution concern is not only limited to the sampled places but extend further to hundreds of public and private schools, colleges and hospitals across Patna that are struggling with diabolic levels of air pollution. Different parts of the world are fighting against this menace in different ways and it is advisable to take notes and learn lessons from these places in order to combat an effective battle against air pollution. With these results, CEED demands for continuous monitoring and public display of air quality. The Government must also issue health advisory during days with high pollution levels, and should also pass orders to close all schools and colleges nearby as immediate response. Government must also implement strict policies to reduce vehicular movement and construction activities to prevent the deteriorating air quality, Jyoti added.

Prashant, one of the school teachers says that the “exposure to particulate matter at such high concentrations in places where children spend most of their time is a matter of serious concern, and will lead to long-lasting health problems among small children.” He further added that “Patna’s air pollution is at critical levels and immediate measures must to be undertaken to control this exponential rise.

The findings of this study highlight the urgency of a Clean Air Action Plan, with stress further on more comprehensive data on air quality, and proactive response protocols like health advisory that enable the people to take adequate preventions.