High lead content in air in Mangaluru, says study

'City on brink of danger; timely action need of the hour'

According to an independent study of air quality in Mangaluru, the air in the city is high in lead content and bears borderline indications of approaching danger on other parameters.

The study was conducted by APD Foundation under its ‘Shuddha Gaali’ project in association with St George’s Homeopathy. APD Foundation has submitted its technical report and assessment of air quality level in Mangaluru to District in-charge Minister B Ramanath Rai. A delegation, comprising APD Foundation founder Abdullah A Rehman and state coordinator Arjun Rai, met Rai recently and handed over the report to him.

The delegation explained to him the long-term implications of the results obtained from the study and urged him to initiate remedial measures to curb air pollution.

The study, conducted in the month of December, was undertaken by technical experts from OneEarthEnviro Labs (OEL), Baikampady, and samples were collected from 12 key locations of the city for an eight-hour period from December 1 to 8.  The study was sponsored by St Georges Homeopathy, Mangaluru, and coordinated by Neil Zacharias.

Six outdoor air pollutants were measured in the drive. They are particulate matter (PM); PM10 (inhalable particles, with diametres that are generally 10 micrometres and smaller) and PM2.5 (fine inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometres and smaller). Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects. The other pollutants are: Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2); Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and lead.

Of the six parameters measured, PM2.5, PM10 and lead have been observed to exceed the permissible limits in a few locations. PM2.5 and PM10 were found to be high in three of the 12 locations (Bunts Hostel, Pumpwell and Baikampady), and PM2.5 alone in six of the 12 junctions (PVS Junction, Bunts Hostel, Bunder, MCC, Pump Well and Baikampady).

Though the study found the overall air quality to be good in most locations in the city, there are indications that it could worsen in the long run. Only timely action can prevent the city from sinking into adverse and irreversible condition in air quality. Hence, the foundation has requested the authorities to take immediate action and ensure a complete check on air pollution.

 Such proactive measures will also go in tandem with the successful implementation of Swachh Mangaluru initiatives of the city corporation.

“It is very essential that CNG is made available in Mangaluru city and public transport vehicles adopt CNG/LPG at this juncture. While it’s compulsory to have BS-IV vehicles across the country, Mangaluru still sees BS-III vehicles plying on the road. We are hoping the administration will take immediate action to prevent any further damage to the environment and the citizens,” Rehman said.

Arjun Rai said, “Smoke-emitting vehicles are visibly the largest contributing factor in polluting the air all around the city. We have also requested the authorities to enforce Section 190(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and Rule 115/116 of Central Motor Vehicle Rule 1989 effectively in order to encourage better maintenance of the vehicles.”

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