Pollution Watch: Monitoring stations go defunct in JK

Centre rejects plea to establish new centers

Greater Kashmir / RANJANA CHARAK
Publish Date: Nov 12 2012 12:00PM

Jammu, Nov 11: Almost all the Pollution Monitoring Stations in Jammu and Kashmir, responsible for monitoring air pollution of various parts of the state, have been lying dysfunctional from last more than a year.
 Official sources said eight, out of eleven, Air Pollution Monitoring Programme Stations (APMP) established under a central governments scheme were non-functional in the state.
 Due to the poor monitoring and function of the Stations, the Central government is also learnt to have rejected a proposal of the Jammu and Kashmir government to establish new centers in the state.
 Sources said that at present only three Monitoring Stations – No 184, 482 and 507 – were working presently and all of them were located in Jammu. The rest of the Stations, especially in Srinagar and Ladakh, were not-functional, sources claimed.
 When contacted Chairman, Pollution Control Board, Lal Chand said, “Only some of the NAPMP Stations were not working. They are not working because there is not much need of them”.
 He claimed that in Ladakh region, the Station can’t be functional throughout the year due to the heavy snowfall. “Moreover at some place some more infrastructure is needed to be installed. We expect to make such Stations functional within one year”, he added.
 Sources said that as per norms Pollution Data is only considered to be authenticated by CPCB if the observation has been recorded 104 times in a year otherwise the observation is considered to be invalid. Presently the data of only three working Stations in Jammu and Kashmir are being used by CPCB and has been uploaded on its website.
 Sources said that for NAPMP Stations, there should be fixed locations where the equipments are installed permanently so that data can be collected from the same site everytime.
 Contending the plea of the Chairman SPCB sources said, “The equipment or devices installed have to be well covered with the protection jackets and installed in shelters so that they can record data in all odd weather conditions like heavy storms and snowfalls”, said sources.
 The presence of smoke, gases and dust pollutant are measured by means of presence of Suspended Particulate matter (SPM) and Respiratory Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) in air that measures quality of air and as per records the high counts of SPM and RSPM has been recorded by SPCB.
 SPM are those pollutants (dust, Smoke) that cannot enter ahead of nasal track and RSPM are those that are able to enter in the respiratory system through breathing and even are more hazardous for health.
 Sources informed that both SPM and RSPM level has been recorded more than normal at all the Stations, from where the data has been collected. “SPM has been recorded from 110-114, though it should not exceed above 100 micrograms. The normal RSPM should be not more than 200 micrograms but it has also been recorded between 220 to 230 micrograms revealing poor air quality”, sources claimed.