Press Release: CEED urges state government to control the severity of air pollution

CEED urges state government to control the severity of air pollution

Graded Response Action Plan’ for Patna should be implemented without any delay

Patna, 15 December 2020: The capital city of Patna continues to battle severe air pollution with thick smog however the state government has not been able to implement the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) as an emergency measure. A recent analysis by Center for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) shows that the Air Quality Index (AQI) has now reached over 200 which is said to be worrisome amidst the health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. An analysis of data for the last 40 days (during 1 November to 10 December) shows that maximum days the air quality in Patna were in the ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ category and this situation necessitated the implementation of the GRAP. It is important to note that not a single day in the last 40 days air quality was observed under the ‘Good’ to ‘Satisfactory’ category, whereas a massive 67.5% of days found under ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Poor’ category. Moreover, 2.5% of days fell into the ‘Severe’ and the remaining 30% days in the ‘Moderate’ category. These data were obtained from the Continuous Air Quality Monitor (CAAQMS) installed at six different locations in Patna (e.g. Muradpur, Rajbanshi Nagar, IGSC Planetarium, Sheikhpura, Danapur, and Samapura).

To control the sudden increase in pollution levels and reduce the high exposure an emergency response action plan e.g. GRAP was notified under the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP). It is an immediate short-term policy action and has been made in line with the GRAP notified and implemented in Delhi-NCR region. GRAP entails a number of actions to be taken as per the sources and are graded as per the level of pollution.

Commenting on the rising air pollution, Ankita Jyoti, Senior Program Officer at CEED said, “As per the measures mentioned in the GRAP, the air quality for 1 day in first week of December was in such a condition where all construction activities, brick kilns and polluting industries should have been temporarily closed but nothing seems to have happened. While the air quality of other 10 days between 1 Nov-10 Dec was in ‘very poor’ category and in such a situation restriction on entry of truck traffic in Patna (excluding essential items), use of diesel generator sets and temporarily ban on burning of coal in hotel/open eateries could have been ensured. She further adds, “At the similar level of air quality in Delhi-NCR region, temporary restrictions on construction activities, restrictions on hot mix plants and all fuel-based industries were ensured. Moreover, a public health advisory was also issued.

The analysis by CEED also reveals that highest 24-hour average concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5) in Patna was noted in Planetarium as 391.4 μg/m3 on 4 December which exceeded the prescribed limit of 60 μg/m3 set by the National Air Quality Standard by 6.5 times. It has a health impact equivalent to smoking 18 cigarettes per day. Across all the locations where air quality is being monitored, IGSC has seen the worst air quality with 98% of the total days falling into the ‘poor’ to ‘severe’ category, while in Sheikhpura 82% of total days, Rajnbanshi Nagar (78%), Muradupur (71%), Samapura (55%), and  Danapur (46%) of total days found in the same categories.

Patna has consistently encountered severe levels of air pollution during the winter season mainly attributed to the adverse weather situation. While nothing can be done to control the natural weather changes, however strict implementation of the measures can provide relief from the pollution related crisis and releasing a public health advisory is necessary for limiting the health impacts.

CEED will keep raising the issue and also assure the Government of Bihar for all kinds of support and cooperation towards the implementation of the CAAP. CEED also urges the state government to effectively implement the GRAP and issue a health advisory for ensuring breathable air and health well being in the city.

Notes to the Editor:

Weblink of the Air Pollution Bulletin – Patna : http://ceedindia.org/air-pollution-in-patna-magnitude-effects/

For more information

Ankita Jyoti, Email: ankita@ceedindia.org, Ph no: 8448019300

Abhinandan Kumar, Email: abhinandan@ceedindia.org, Ph no: 9973643001