Sharp dip in City's ambient air quality

Pollutant levels skyrocket to three times the permissible limit

Sharp dip in City's ambient air quality

The deadliest pollutant in Bangalore’s air, the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) has gone up to an astounding 200 to 300 per cent of the permissible limits.

Latest (2012-13) figures disclosed by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) show that the dangerous concoction of explosive vehicular growth, ceaseless construction and suspended dust particles, has dramatically pushed up the RSPM values far beyond the national limit of 60.0 µg/m3 (micro gram per cubic meter).

Sample these chilling statistics: The RSPM at the KHB Industrial Area, Yelahanka stands at a staggering 182 µg/m3, up from 72.0µg/m3 recorded in 2010-11. In the vicinity of AMCO Batteries on Mysore road, the RSPM value recorded for 2012-13 was 169, a considerable jump from 58 recorded just a year ago!

Disturbing figures

KSPCB arrived at these disturbing figures after monitoring ambient air quality in 12 locations across the City. Two Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations kept a round-the-clock check on air quality at the City Railway Station and Regional Office complex in SG Halli.

Manual equipment under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP) was used to check the air in three categories: Industrial Area, Mixed Urban Area and Sensitive Area.

Whitefield has been surprisingly ranked high among the most polluted areas in the City. The KSPCB findings for 2012-13 have confirmed this yet again.

The RSPM recorded at Graphite India, Whitefield is a high 162µg/m3. The Board has attributed these high levels to the usual suspects: Rising construction activities, vehicular movement and dust kicked up by the motorists on poor roads.

Among all the 12 monitoring stations, the highest RSPM (182) recorded was in KHB Industrial Area, Yelahanka. One conspicuous reason, as the Board pointed out, was the apparently high density of dust in the air kicked up by the Airport road elevated flyover work.

During the last two years, the RSPM values were three times more than the national limit.
Air pollution levels have gone beyond all limits even in the sensitive zone that include hospitals and child care centres.

At the Victoria Hospital monitoring station, for instance, the latest RSPM value is 152. This is a dramatic surge from the 51µg/m3 recorded in 2011-12. In the premises of the Indira Gandhi Children Care Centre, Nimhans, the RSPM value is 70, 10 more than the permissible limit.

The once cherished image of Bangalore weather is sure to take another beating with these figures.

There is a lone silver lining though: Monitoring the air quality under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme, KSPCB has found that the Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels are within the permissible limits. While the annual average standard for SO2 is 50µg/m3, the limit is 40µg/m3 for NO2.

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