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No respite from ‘very poor’ air quality in Patna, Muzaffarpur

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 28-11-2021 Megha, PATNA
Poor visibility at Bailey road flyover in Patna due to fog, on Sunday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo) © Provided by Hindustan Times Poor visibility at Bailey road flyover in Patna due to fog, on Sunday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

The overall air pollution levels in Patna and Muzaffarpur remained in the ‘very poor’ category on Sunday while some observatories ringed alarm as they crossed 350-mark inching closer to the ‘severe’ air quality.

Residents are unlikely to get any respite from deteriorating air quality due to a dip in temperature and wedding season, said pollution experts.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), an overall air quality index (AQI) of Patna based on five air monitoring stations stood at 342, which was categorised under ‘very poor’.

The CPCB classifies an AQI of zero to 50 as ‘good’, 51-100 as ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 as ‘moderate’, 201-300 as ‘poor’, 301-400 as ‘very poor’ and above 401 as ‘severe’.

In Patna, AQI at three air-monitoring stations inched closer to the ‘severe’ category. Observatories near IGSC Planetarium Complex registered AQI at 394, Samanpura 391, Rajbansi Nagar 386 followed by Danapur 340. Shikarpur-based apparatus recorded ‘moderate’ air quality with an index value of 200.

Besides, Hajipur and Muzaffarpur also recorded ‘very poor’ air quality with an index value of 326 and 313 respectively. Gaya recorded ‘poor’ air quality with an index value of 290.

Meanwhile, Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) claimed that a series of steps were being taken to improve the air quality in the state, however, results will be visible in coming years.

BSPCB’s chairman Ashok Ghosh said that apart from geographical location and decline in temperature, wedding season was also responsible for the spike in pollution levels.

“Wedding season is at peak this year as a large number of weddings, which were postponed last year, are taking place this month involving heavy vehicular rush and firecracker bursting. They are also responsible to some extent behind the hike in air pollution levels”, he said.

“Mass awareness is going on to encourage people to opt for environment-friendly steps such as switching to CNG vehicles, covering construction sites with green sheets and not burning garbage in open areas. The board has a provision to impose a fine of up to 25,000 on burning garbage in open areas. We have yet not penalised any individual as awareness programme is going on but soon, we would start penalising the violators for the offence”, he added.

Meanwhile, Ankita Jyoti, senior programme officer at CEED, said, “We need to increase the frequency of measures such as water sprinkling in hotspot zones to reduce air pollution level. The state government has already prepared an emergency action plan for tackling air pollution but strict enforcement is needed to bring effective results.”

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