Tribune News Service
Solan, June 5
Even as World Environment Day is being celebrated with a slew of conservation activities being undertaken, air quality in the state’s industrial hub of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) has once again deteriorated with the resumption of the industrial activity.
The most populated Baddi town has registered an air quality index (AQI) of 122 with particulate matter having diameter less than 10 micrometers (PM10), being as high as 133 micrograms per cubic meter (MPCM). The AQI from 0 to 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 is moderate while 101 to 150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, informed an official of the SPCB. The AQI is calculated on the basis of five main pollutants — particulate matter, ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Though the air quality had marginally improved in April during the lockdown when only a fraction of pharmaceutical and food-based industries were functional, it has once again taken a dip. The BBN area houses 89 per cent of the state’s industry and a rapid increase in the movement of industrial vehicles was a major contributor.
Figures secured from the online portal of air quality index of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) revealed that the AQI for June 2 for Nalagarh was 82, which is considered moderate. The results from the monitoring station at Barotiwala were not displayed and the portal did not show the AQI figures after June 2.
In Paonta Sahib, the AQI score was 80 while in Kala Amb industrial cluster it was 72, both considered moderate. Results of PM 2.5 were, however, not updated on the portal for most of the stations, putting a question mark on the air quality monitoring mechanism. Towns like Damtal and Sundernagar have shown improvement in their AQI which was recorded at 48 and 51 respectively by the SPCB.
Towns like Baddi, Damtal, Kala Amb, Nalagarh, Paonta Sahib, Parwanoo and Sundernagar lie in the list of non-attainment cities of the nation as its ambient particulate matter was found below the laid norms on a continuous basis by the Central Pollution Control Board. Himachal has the fourth-highest number of such towns in the country
Aditya Negi, Member Secretary, SPCB, said the staff was endeavouring to improve the air quality, as per an action plan. He agreed that the resumption of industrial activity has enhanced air pollution in places like Baddi though remarkable improvement was visible in Damtal, Parwanoo and Sundernagar.
Baddi most polluted
The AQI from 0 to 50 is considered good, from 51 to 100 moderate while from 101 to 150 it’s unhealthy
The most populated Baddi town has AQI of 122
AQI for Nalagarh was 82
In Paonta Sahib, the AQI was 80 while in Kala Amb industrial cluster, it was 72