Vijayawada

Vijayawada city tops State in air pollution

Petroleum coke and coal identified as main source of emissions

Among the five cities in the State that have received the non-attainment city tag, Vijayawada tops the list with particulate matter up 10 micrometres in size (pm10) levels reaching 104 μg/m.³

Other cities in the list are Vishakhapatnam, Guntur, Nellore and Kurnool. Cities are considered non-attainment ones if their air quality is poorer than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Based on the annual average baseline assessed from 2015-18, it was found that sulphur concentration in Vijayawada’s atmosphere was the highest among the five cities.

A study conducted by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) found that usage of sulphur-rich petroleum coke, or petcoke, and coal in the industrial areas were responsible for the severe damage to the city’s air quality.

“In order to meet the current pm10 standards, we need to target that that the pollution levels in the city are curbed by 42 %,” Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, Centre for Science and Environment, said.

The annual average of PM10 in Guntur was 56 micrograms per cubic metre this year so far. It was 63 in Nellore and 82 in Vijayawada.

‘Time is running out’

Neerabh Kumar Prasad, IAS, Special Chief Secretary, Environment, Forest, Science and Technology(EFS&T), urged the citizens to identify the source of harmful emissions and rectify it at the earliest to breathe fresh air.

“This problem has no short or long term. We need to act immediately in order to ensure our longevity on this planet,” he added.

The cities in Andhra Pradesh, that observe pm10 levels reach from bad to severe during the winter season, otherwise the quality of air remains in the moderate level during the rest of the year.

“Drastic measure have to be taken in winters where we have to shut down coal- based power plants, brick kilns and should not allow lorries into certain areas,” said Maka Siva Reddy, Joint Chief Environmental Engineer.

Cities such as Delhi, and Haryana have banned the usage of petcoke and India has banned the import of it as well. However, petcoke is still used in most parts of the country. As per Anumita Roychowdhury’s study on the issue, banning the utilisation of this resource can bring about a nationwide implication vis-a-vis environmental purification.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 11:46:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/vijayawada-city-tops-state-in-air-pollution/article28103828.ece

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