Builders, govt. agencies told to spray dust suppressants

Substance forms a layer of moisture over surfaces; it is expected to decrease dust pollution

In a first, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee on Wednesday ordered that all construction and road-owning agencies have to spray dust suppressants at construction sites and “dusty patches” of roads to control emissions or else face action. Individual constructions are exempted from the order, said officials.

Dust suppressant is a powder which is mixed with water or a polymer and sprayed to form a layer of moisture over surfaces, thus controlling dust being raised into the air.

Construction and road dust is one of the major causes of pollution in the city.

“All construction agencies must use dust suppressants to control fugitive emissions from process and stored construction materials. All road-owning agencies must use dust suppressants on dusty patches to control road re-suspension dust,” a letter written by the DPCC to different government agencies, accessed by The Hindu, said.

The DPCC has written to the municipal bodies, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, among others.

“The order is not for smaller individual constructions, but for builders and government agencies which are involved in housing and infra projects,” an official told The Hindu. Violators can face up to “six years in prison and fine”, as per Air (prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1981.

The study

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had last year ordered a study to be done by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) on the use of dust suppressants mixed with water to control emissions. After the study showed positive results, the CPCB advised the DPCC to issue directions.

Last month, the CPCB had told DPCC: “Considering the need of alternate measures for effective control of pollution during the upcoming winter season, the DPCC may consider issuing instructions to road-owning agencies and government construction agencies for use of dust suppressants on unpaved roads, roads with heavy traffic and construction sites.”

“Dust suppressants have been traditionally used in mining industry. It is not a permanent solution and has to be re-applied after six to eight hours,” said Rakesh Kumar, Director of NEERI.

He said that the best practice is to avoid keeping construction materials in the open and not leaving dust along the road.

Not aware

Meanwhile, builders said that they are not aware of the development.

“Builders and contractors are not aware of the study or dust suppressants. The government should have discussed with us before issuing the order,” said Rajiv Goyal, chairman (Delhi chapter) of the Builders Association of India. “We also live in Delhi and will be more than happy to implement it, if it reduces the pollution, but we are currently unaware of it.”

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 3:39:12 PM |

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