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Issue 16
, 2009
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Metros mock at pollution norms

Source: The Pioneer , New Delhi, Date: , 2009

Increasing levels of air and water pollution continue to ring alarm bells for India. If the air quality in 85 Indian cities has deteriorated further in the last one year, the pollution load has increased on 139 different stretches of 37 major rivers in the last few years. But then, nearly 37,000 industries continue dishing out hazardous waste of about 6.2 million tonne annually. The Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) levels exceeded the prescribed norms in 86 of the 126 cities monitored by the Central and State Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committee during 2008, Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh had informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. The extent of the increase, however, wasnt elaborated. Increase in RSPM level leads to respiratory disorders like asthma. While the acceptable standard of RSPM is 60 micrograms per cubic metre (mg/cu m) annually, many cities including metros like Delhi (149 mg/cu m), Mumbai (118 mg/cu m) and Kolkata (104 mg/cu m) stand beyond the prescribed norms as per the CPCBs study between January-August last year. Vehicular movement, industrialisation, burning of fuel in kitchen and operation of DG sets are the reasons behind it, he said adding that the levels of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, however, remained within the prescribed norms. Air pollution apart, according to water quality monitoring by the CPCB, 139 stretches of 37 rivers across 20 States including Ganga, Yamuna, Damodar, Subarnarekha and Ghaggar have seen an increase in their pollution load with the most stretches lying on Yamuna between Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.The alarming scenario notwithstanding, as many as 36,165 hazardous waste generating industries in the country generate about 6.2 million tonne of hazardous waste annually. Of the 6.2 MT hazardous waste, 2.7 MT is land-fillable, 0.041 MT incinerable and 3.08 MT recyclable, Jairam Ramesh maintained.