Raipur: the most polluted city

Unplanned industrialisation is its major undoing
Raipur: the most polluted city

the Central Pollution Control Board (cpcb) recently declared Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur as the country's most polluted city. Union minister of environment and forests A Raja presented a report in parliament based on a study on the presence of Suspended Particulate Matter (spm) in the air in 52 cities; Raipur ranked highest. spm in Raipur's air is 250 micrograms per cubic meter (g/m3) (standard is fixed at 200 g/m3) while the concentration of dust particles is 350 parts per million (ppm) ( fixed limit is 200 ppm) . The respirable particles are 230 ppm , much more than the standard of 100 ppm. It is believed that the presence of respirable suspended particulate matter (rspm) is also three-four per cent higher than the acceptable limit.

Several factors are responsible for the acute air pollution in Raipur: toxic industrial waste, domestic waste, too many vehicles (rough estimates say the number of vehicles has doubled in the last two years), rapidly increasing constructions and fast growing population.

Gautam Bandhopadhyay, coordinator, Nadi Ghati Morcha (ngm), a forum, says the state's industrial policy does not protect the interests of local people and the environment. Many sponge iron units have come up in the area and many others are in the process. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 tonnes coal is used by functional sponge iron units. Some small-scale industries, like nearly 50-60 brick kilns, are also mushrooming around Raipur. A study by ngm says most of these kilns operate as Bull Trench Kilns and don't follow the norms of Fixed Chimney methods. Their wastes cause rspm content to exceed the permissible limit by over four-five per cent. Air pollution caused by their contaminants affects an area of up to 10 square kilometers (sq km) during winters and monsoons and 25-30 sq km during summers.

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