2010 Feb. 24: India: Noise and Air Pollution in major cities

2010 Feb. 24: India: Noise and Air Pollution in major cities

Noise and Air Pollution in major cities

18:9 IST
Lok Sabha

The ambient air quality is regularly being monitoried by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with concerned State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)/ Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) at 365 locations in 141 cities and towns across the country, including Kanpur, under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP). The analysis of ambient air quality data for the last 03 years has revealed that the levels of particulate matter having size less than 10 micron (PM10) have exceeded the prescribed norms in the majority of cities, including Kanpur. However, there is no clear trend.

The levels of Sulphur Dioxide are within prescribed norms across the country and the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide are within norms in most of the cities including Kanpur. Rapid urbanization, industrialization, growing population of vehicles, burning of biomass, use of generator sets and resuspension of dust are the main reasons of air pollution in cities.

The CPCB has sponsored two epidemiological studies entitled “Epidemiological study of Air Pollution on Human Health (adults) in Delhi (2002-2005)” and “Study on Ambient Air Quality, Respiratory Symptoms and Lung Function of Children in Delhi (2003-2005)” through Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI), KolKata. However, CPCB or Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) have not carried out any epidemiological study for Kanpur. The CPCB, UPPCB or Indian Agricultural Research Institute have not studied either the impact of air pollution on crops in Kanpur.

The Government has, inter-alia, taken the following measures to control air pollution in major cities:

i. Notification of emission standards for various categories of industry under the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986;

ii. Formulation of action plan for improvement of ambient air quality in 16 cities apart from Delhi;

iii. Introduction of cleaner fuel for control of vehicular pollution as per Auto Fuel Policy;

iv. Making compulsory the sale of 2T pre-mix petrol for two stroke-two and three wheelers;

v. Enforcement of ‘Pollution Under Control (PUC)’ certificate system to check exhaust emissions from in-use vehicles;

vi. Implementation of stringent emission norms for generator sets;

vii. Use of beneficiated/blended coal (ash content less than 34%) for coal based thermal power plants so as to reduce dust emission;

viii. Undertaking Source Apportionment Studies in 06 metro cities, namely, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangaluru, Kanpur and Chennai;

ix. Implementation of the recommendations of the Charter on Corporate Responsibility for Environment Protection (CREP) for 17 Categories of highly polluting industries; and

x. Monitoring of air polluting industries for compliance with notified emission norms.

As far as noise pollution is concerned, the monitoring is done mainly during festivals such as Deepawali. A few SPCBs and PCCs have initiated regular noise monitoring since 2008-09. As per available data, the laid down noise norms for respective zones (Industrial, Commercial, Residential or Silence) are exceeded at many locations. However, a definite trend can not be ascertained for major cities, including Hyderabad, since data is available only for a limited period.

The practice of exploding sound emitting firecrackers on religious occasions & weddings, playing of bands during processions, blowing of horns, operation of generator sets, movement of traffic (highways, railways and airways), use of public address systems, construction activities and operation of generator sets increase the ambient noise levels in urban areas.

The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board is monitoring ambient noise levels at six different places in Hyderabad city and the average noise levels are exceeding the limits at all the places.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published guidelines on occupation and community noise which is based on specific environment concept. In India, the occupation noise is governed under the Factory Act, 1948 whereas the ambient noise norms have been notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

WHO guidelines are in a different conceptual framework than the noise regulations in India. The various steps undertaken by the Government to control noise pollution include the following:

1. Implementation of the provisions of The Factory Act, 1948, the Air (Prevention and control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 has been undertaken.

2. The notified noise standards at the manufacturing stage for generator sets, motor vehicles, select domestic appliances and firecrackers are under implementation by the concerned authorities.

3. Nodal agencies have been designated for implementation of notified noise norms at manufacturing stage for generator sets and fire crackers.

4. The blowing of horns, bursting of sound emitted fire crackers, operation of sound emitting construction equipments, playing of bands, etc. have been restricted during night time (10.00 pm to 6.00 am) under the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000.

5. The Central Government has also undertaken the task to create an ambient noise monitoring network at national level.

6. The various SPCBs, PCCs and CPCB have initiated actions for systematic monitoring of ambient noise.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Environment and Forests (independent charge) Shri Jairam Ramesh in a written reply to a question by Shri Ponnam Prabhakar, Yashbant N.S. Laguri, Nishikant Dubey, A.T. Nana Patil, Jai Prakash Agarwal, Gorakh Prasad Jaiswal and A. Ganeshamurthi in Lok Sabha today.

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