Kochi: Green activists have slammed the Central Pollution Control Board's air quality index in the state as per which the highly-polluted Eloor industrial stretch is the cleanest area. According to the daily air quality index available in CPCB's website, Eloor is one of the urban areas which has the cleanest air in the country. Thiruvananthapuram also has high air quality standards.
In a critically-polluted industrial area like Eloor, the ambient air quality index is 33. As per the standards 0 to 50 is very good air quality which will have minimal impact on human health. In Thiruvananthapuram the index is 58 which also is satisfactory.
"It is a known fact that ambient air quality in Eloor - Edayar stretch, which has more than 280 industrial units including the more than 100 chemical-based manufacturing units, is highly polluted. Several studies have proved it. In a 2009, the Delhi IIT, CPCB and Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change checked the air and water quality of 88 industrial areas across the country to prepare the Compressive Environment Pollution Index. As per the index, Eloor is one of the most critically polluted industrial clusters in the country," said Purushan Eloor, an activist of Periyar Malineekarana Virudha Samithi.
"The CPCB's online air quality monitoring devices installed at various locations in the district including at Eloor are managed by private agency approved by the Board. The data will be uploaded in the PCB website and anyone can access it. However, the reading in the device at Eloor was never found to be accurate. Even those days when residents feel unbearable stench, the reading in the device will not change," he added.
There are allegations that the PCB has not done the smoke stack monitoring of industrial units in Eloor to check emission for the last 14 years. The PCB officials will not inspect the stack even while renewing the license of industrial units, allege green activists.
There are 344 continuous ambient air quality monitoring systems across the country and data is available from 114 stations including the system installed near ESI hospital, Pathalam, Eloor.
"The data in the monitoring device always remain static even when the air quality is very poor with unbearable odour and thick fog. Hence, Eloor has been on top of the cleanest areas as per the CPCB website for long," added Ashkar Khader, the counsel who appeared for green groups in National Green Tribunal in cases related to Periyar pollution....