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Tackling industrial pollution a tough challenge for govt

 

With the state’s prime industrial area of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN), which comprises 70 per cent of the state’s industries, having been saturated with the pollution load, the new government faces a challenging task in undertaking pollution mitigation measures.

Several studies, including one conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), had detected the presence of highly toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which adversely affects the health. Though this report was released in August 2010, little was done to check the spread of these hazardous chemicals in the BBN area.

According to this report, the chemicals emitted in the air included cancer emitting carcinogens which have enhanced the risk of locals acquiring cancer. Besides this, these VOCs also target the eyes, skin and respiratory system, central nervous system, liver, kidneys, reproductive system and even the cardiovascular system, blood, heart and the peripheral nervous system.

The State Pollution Control Board had requested the CPCB to conduct air sampling in the BBN area after a local environment action group had detected the presence of 11 noxious chemicals in a study conducted by them.

The board had, however, in a delayed move assigned IIT Kanpur to conduct a study on the ambient air quality of BBN last year where monitoring of trace metals and toxic compounds was being done now.

This study was also crucial as the CPCB had revised national air quality standards in November 2009 and the state board lacked the requisite technical infrastructure to assess the air quality.

The CPCB had also placed the BBN area in a critically polluted zone after its comprehensive environment pollution index was adversely rated.

Despite such adverse rating apart from professing the use of green technologies little was done to identity units and initiate checking of units emitting any of the six green house gases or even keeping a watch on the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted. The latest study being undertaken by IIT Kanpur is, therefore, being keenly awaited.

Member Secretary, State Pollution Control Board, Sanjay Sood said the findings of the report were being compiled and it would be received in the next fortnight. He added that it would help the board devise future strategies for containing pollution, especially in the Baddi area which housed maximum industries.

The Tribune (08-01-2013)