- Air pollution in Maharashtra is a cause for concern, with three towns crossing dangerous Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels between 2011 and 2015. The towns are in the Thane district-Badlapur-Ulhasnagar and Pune belts.
- Seventeen of the State’s cities and towns exceeded Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) during the period. High levels of NO2 and PM10 determine air toxicity, with excess NO2 levels known to cause severe respiratory infections.
Findings of Central Pollution Control Board:
- Based on the air quality data generated during 2011-2015, the Central Pollution Control Board has identified 94 towns, for not meeting the prescribed standards.
- The study revealed that road dust and vehicles were the key sources of PM10 in urban areas. Biomass burning, diesel generators, construction activities, industrial activities etc. were identified as other important sources.
- The World Health Organisation states that outdoor air pollution is a major environmental health problem and estimates that in 2012, nearly 72% of outdoor air pollution-related premature deaths were due to ischaemic heart disease and strokes; 14% of deaths were due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or acute lower respiratory infections, and 14% were due to lung cancer.
- The high level of NO2 is mainly due to emissions from vehicles and industries.
- Also, there are measures taken to control emissions from four-wheelers but heavy vehicles are largely ignored.
- Particulates come mainly from construction activity and roadside dust, “but we have absolutely no environmental management in the construction sector. Lack of constant monitoring and reporting in the public domain is a major loophole in the system.”