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State pollution board yet to adopt new norms

The state Pollution Control Board has yet to adopt new norms of ambient air quality standards notified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Now with the CPCB having made online monitoring of air and water quality mandatory, the state board will have to upgrade its infrastructure to meet the revised norms. This measure was taken as the CPCB found that the industrial units were discharging pollutants into air and water, posing a threat to the water and air quality.

According to the new norms, parameters such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, ammonia, benzene, bezoa pyrene, arsenic and nickel are supposed to be monitored by the state Pollution Control Board from November 2009.

The state board continued to monitor barely three parameters which included sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

Vineet Kumar, member secretary, state board, said they had been endeavouring to upgrade the infrastructure, including the availability of modern equipment, and a proposal to set up a modern lab where all such parameters could be monitored was being moved before the CPCB as well as the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

He said the unavailability of the equipment had acted as a deterrent in monitoring all parameters and added that the board was serious to address problems relating to pollution.

There was no dearth of funds in the state board and instead of upgrading its pollution mitigation infrastructure after the introduction of the new norms, it has been paying income tax worth crores on income generated through fee charge in lieu of the Water Act, 1974, and the Air Act, 1981, from the industries. Though this fee is supposed to be invested in pollution mitigation, the Board management has failed to undertake any such measure.

The Tribune (20-02-2014)