State’s air quality monitoring network to be expanded soon

The data, culled from the monitoring network, will help decision-makers address public health concerns, says an official. File photo

The data, culled from the monitoring network, will help decision-makers address public health concerns, says an official. File photo   | Photo Credit: K.V. Srinivasan

Commissioning of equipment under way

After a wait of several years, the State will get 20 more automatic air quality monitoring stations by this month end. Commissioning of imported equipment is under way at several locations, said sources in the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).

The project to install 23 such stations at a cost of ₹39 crore in important towns and cities was announced in the Assembly in 2015. But after that two tender calls for supply of equipment and operating and maintaining them for a period of five years went without any response.

It was only in October 2017 that the supply order was placed and in August 2018, one portion of the equipment landed in the country, the official explained.

“Some of the parts had to come from Goa. The imported equipment and the parts from Goa together make the instruments. The company is installing the instruments in a phased manner. So far ₹29.5 crore has been released to the company, the rest would be done so in a phased manner since that cost is for operation and maintenance. They have to maintain for a period of five years. The data will be shared with the TNPCB and the Central Pollution Control Board,” the official added.

“Presently, stations at Kancheepuram (2), Vellore (2), Tiruchi (2), Krishnagiri (1), Dindigul (1), Salem (1) and Tiruvallur (1) are ready and trial is being done for the internet connectivity. The company is in the process of installing equipment at Karur, Namakkal, Pudukottai, Coimbatore, Cuddalore and Virudhunagar,” the official explained.

Instruments meant for Madurai, Thanjavur, Tiruppur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli and Ariyalyur have landed at the respective locations.

There are, however, issues with locations of stations in Ooty and Ramanathapuram where the building owners have changed their stance and withdrawn approval.

“We are looking for alternative buildings in these places,” the official said.

Former TNPCB member secretary K. Karthikeyan said that the expansion of the air quality monitoring network in the State was a welcome move.

“The data, which should be made public, would help decision makers address public health concerns. Air pollution is a serious issue and continuous monitoring always helps keep levels under control,” Mr. Karthikeyan said.

Residents and environmental experts have been demanding that the network be expanded for quite a few years now.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 10:19:55 AM |

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