Breathing easy

Gujarat Pollution Control Board's latest invention helps 'reduce' air pollution

Published: Thursday 30 November 2000

The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has developed a 'novel' method of checking air pollution. If results from this new method are to be believed, nothing is amiss with the otherwise suffocating Ahmedabad's air.

The board is not exaggerating any figures. The only thing they have done is keep the pollution monitor 'at a greater height and close to a tree'. As pollutants tend to settle down, the monitor kept at a height of 6.7 metres shows nothing wrong with the city's air. Suspended particulate matter (SPM), sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, to name a few, were, therefore, reported well within permissible limits.

GPCP reported SPM levels of 170 microgramme per cubic metre (/m 3 ). But according to independent agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme, SPM levels hover around 300 per cent over the GPCP figures.

"The location of the monitor is very important to get the right picture of the air quality," says Anumita Roychoudhary, coordinator of the anti-air pollution campaign unit, Centre for Science and Environment, a New Delhi based non-governmental organisation.

"Ideally the device should be kept at a height of three metres. At times it can range between 5.5-6 metres," says A Manoharan, a scientist at the Central Pollution Control Board. "But there should be no building, trees, or any other such object within at least 100 metres radial distance of the instrument, allowing the wind to flow in a homogenous manner," he further adds.

G P Soni, member secretary, GPCB, denies that the instrument was kept at 6.7 metres.

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