Patna’s ambient air quality requires Intensive Care Unit (ICU): CEED demand for clean air action plan for Bihar

Patna, 8th June 2016: A new report “Ambient Air Quality Analysis” for Patna was released by Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) at a press conference. The report reveals the new data of ambient air quality in the city. The findings of the report present a very high level of pollution across Patna and demand for immediate action from the government. The level of air pollution in Patna has exceeded the prescribed Indian standard. Shockingly, the air quality of Patna has been recorded to be between poor to severe category. The new air pollution data is based on the data collected from its five monitoring stations in Patna between the period of 16th May to 31st May, 2016.

Patna, the capital city of Bihar is ranked 6th in the WHO report on air quality index. The five monitoring stations indicated a high level of air pollution for all days with PM 2.5 and PM 10 values exceeding the national permissible limit (60 μg/m3 and 100 μg/m3) by two to three times. The PM 2.5 and PM 10 were noted in the range of (316.1 μg/m3 -63.4 μg/m3) and (350.2 μg/m3 -142.7 μg/m3) respectively in the last 16 days of May, 2016.

While presenting the Air Quality Index for Patna, Mr. Ramapati Kumar, CEO of CEED, stated that it is shocking to see such a high level of air pollution in the city. The Bihar government must work on war footing basis to completely banish the problem of air pollution. The condition of the state is as such that it needs an immediate action. He further adds that the burgeoning gap between the Air Quality Index and the lack of awareness about it among the people has escalated the problem even further.

CEED’s initiative to share the level of air pollution from the installed monitoring stations is part of a campaign to spread the real time data among the masses. The organization aims to bring transparency on air quality information that will assist in framing potential solutions and measures such as the Clean Air Action Plan, which can be adopted to improve the air quality. CEED’s air pollution analysis also took two important weather parameters into account, i.e. temperature and humidity, for examining the air pollution situation in Patna. It must be noted that vehicular pollution, open bio-mass burning, usage of diesel for electricity generation, unchecked construction activity and dust pollution are some of the major sources for poor air quality in the city.

The details of the report was presented by Ms. Ankita Joyti, Program Manager, CEED, who elucidated that the ambient air pollution that has been categorized as the fifth largest killer is has been adversely affecting the people of the city. The analysis of the study indicated that over 70% of fifteen day research period comes under poor to se-vere category. Patna witnessed a very high level of Air Quality Index i.e. in the range of 400 to 154. The people in Patna have been inhaling poor quality air and the situation is going to worsen if no immediate redressal is met. The air quality are especially un-der poor to severe category during the mornings, afternoons and nights. The quality of air is relatively better during midnight. The analysis further revealed that the par-ticulate matter concentration is majorly high in and around Patna Junction, the place that witnesses the largest inflow-outflow of population and maximum amount of traf-fic. The area near Phulwarisharif however had the least amount of particulate matter concentration.  Furthermore, the report admits that there has not been a single day in the fifteen day study period when the quality of air is under permissible limits.

With this report, CEED demands for a systematic clean air action plan with well de-fined targets and timeline that frames a comprehensive policy towards public health. The action plan must work to adopt emergency measures where the vulnerable com-munities receive constant alerts and updates about air quality.Also, the policy must also aim to get an efficient transport system, delink diesel, reduce industrial emission with focus on clean bricks manufacturing methods, ban open burning with focus for clean cooking and  control dust pollution by increasing the green cover. The organiza-tion urged the government of Bihar to take immediate policy framework in order to curb the hazardous situation of air pollution in the state.