‘Polluted’ Thane needs action plan

‘Polluted’ Thane needs action plan

Source: The Asian Age | Posted on 23 August 2019

‘Polluted’ Thane needs action plan

Mumbai: Raising concerns over increasing air pollution in Thane, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has added the city to the list of non-attainment cities, i.e. cities where pollution levels have far exceeded prescribed limits and require a separate action plan as per the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) norms.

Thane is among the 20 cities the CPCB has added to the existing 102 non-attainment cities (which include Mumbai) under the NCAP, which aims to reduce pollutants by 20 to 30 per cent in the next five years.

The CPCB has directed the MPCB to create an action plan for the Thane district based on pointers for the 102 non-attainment cities, which mostly focus on curbing pollution from various sources.

“The earlier non-attainment cities were based on the data between 2011 and 2015. New cities have been added, based on the last five years’ data in which Thane is included. The latest data till 2018 shows increasing levels of PM2.5 and PM10,” said V.K. Shukla, head, air quality laboratory, CPCB.

PM10 arises from dust pollution, while PM2.5 arises from vehicular and industrial emissions.

Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner, Greenpeace East Asia, said, “Under the action plan for Thane, it is important that emissions are controlled in an effective way and from the source. While there should be focus on improving the conditions of roads and encouraging public transport, industries should be strictly regulated, with emphasis on cleaner fuels. Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai are closer, which leads to interflow of pollutants. As such, a detailed air shed level management plan for all the cities in the vicinity is needed.”

According to air pollution experts, there is a grave need to also regulate emissions from small-scale industries in Thane.

According to MPCB data, Thane district has the highest number of highly polluted industries in the state. The star-rating programme rates industries of the state based on particulate matter (PM) emissions, with the least polluted rated as “five star” and the most polluted rated as “one star”. Thane district has 48 highly polluted industries, including 35 industries with a “one star” rating and 13 industries with a “two star” rating.