HAS THE AGENDA OF POLLUTION TAKEN A BACKSEAT AGAIN?

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A cyclist rides on a road enveloped by smoke and smog, on the morning following Diwali festival in New Delhi, India, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. As Indians wake Monday to smoke-filled skies from a weekend of festival fireworks for the Hindu holiday of Diwali, New Delhi's worst season for air pollution begins, with dire consequences. A new report from UNICEF says about a third of the 2 billion children in the world who are breathing toxic air live in northern India and neighboring countries, risking serious health effects including damage to their lungs, brains and other organs. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Air quality dipping rapidly, Delhi government issues health advisory

NEW DELHI: Air quality in Delhi, which remained ‘very poor’ for the fourth straight day today, is set to nosedive further, leading to the Delhi government advising people to stay indoors as much as possible.
High moisture content and lack of winds have triggered the spike, the city government said. The Centre said it will take “harsh measures”, if needed, to prevent any repeat of the recent smog episode.
The Central Pollution Control Board registered the day’s air quality inde ..

Read more at: ET

New ‘gas standards’ in the works to fight pollution

The government is looking to prepare a unified testing methodology to ensure that all agencies that map air pollution use accurate instruments.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) -National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is in the process of setting up ‘gas standards’, or reference samples of Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrous Oxide (NO2) and Particulate –Pb (lead), –As (Arsenic) and –Ni (Nickel).

Currently, the National Ambient Air Quality standards specify the upper limits for pollutants and, based on this, the Air Quality Index — that grades air quality in cities from ‘Good’ to ‘Severe’ — is prepared for several Indian cities.

Devices not calibrated

“However we have noticed several times that these measurement devices are not calibrated and errors creep in,” said D.K. Aswal, Director, National Physical Laboratory. “This month, we are ready with the standards for several pollutants.”

Going ahead, he said, there would be talks with environment-monitoring agencies like the the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to see if these can become reference standards for use by all private and public agencies that measure pollution levels.

CPCB has prescribed guidelines for the maximum permissible levels of 12 gases and pollutants, depending on residential, rural or industrial locations. Standards for PM2.5 were laid out in 2009, though CPCB is now mooting a proposal to revise these standards, a senior official in the organisation hadtold The Hindu earlier this year.

The NPL has also developed a custom air sampler that claims to measure PM2.5 levels far more accurately than existing devices.

SOURCE – THE HINDU

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