Vijayawada: Ambient air quality in 15 major cities/towns in Andhra Pradesh was found to be relatively good when compared with last year, thanks to the lockdown due to Covid-19 and the incessant rainfall.
The Andhra Pradesh pollution control board (APPCB) monitors ambient air quality on a regular basis in major cities/towns, including Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Rajahmundry, Eluru, Vijayawada, Guntur, Ongole, Nellore, Kurnool, Tirupati, Chitttoor, Kadapa and Anantapur from January to December every year.
It looks for the presence of chemicals like sulphur dioxide which gets released into the atmosphere due to burning of garbage; nitrogen dioxide from burning of municipal solid waste and vehicular emissions; ammonia gas from municipal drains and public toilets and carbon monoxide, mainly from exhaust pipes from vehicles.
Based on the direction from the national green tribunal in a case, the APPCB has come up with an action plan on how to control air pollution and entrusted a specific task to each department to implement it.
Accordingly, the APPCB has taken up the responsibility to monitor ambient air quality by setting up such stations on a permanent basis in some municipal areas in the state while municipal bodies have been asked to take up clearing of garbage at public places and ensure no open burning of garbage.
They are also asked to clear roads of dust and take up construction of cement-concrete pavements to avoid dust rising into the atmosphere. The road transport authorities are asked to keep tab on vehicles causing pollution by regularly checking their emissions to measure pollution levels. They are also supposed to keep strict check on whether vehicles have pollution under check certificates.
The police department too has its role to play in regulating vehicular traffic to avoid traffic jams so that the emissions from vehicles are not concentrated in only some areas causing air pollution.
APPCB authorities maintain that the data generated for ambient air quality for 10 particulate matter shows 52 micrograms per meter cube on an average from January to August, 2020, while 62 for the corresponding period in 2019, indicating that the air quality has improved.
The other reasons for such a remarkable change in ambient air quality in the state is the imposition of lockdown in several phases to contain the spread of Covid-19 and also the incessant rainfall. The centre-imposed lockdown regulated public movement, suspension of all public transport, people staying indoors, reduced movement of vehicles and people avoiding mass social gatherings, all of which improved air quality. Closure of several manufacturing and reduction units also helped improve air quality.
Similarly, the prolonged spell of rainfall, despite the damage, helped maintain air quality with no major dust particles and other pollutants entering the atmosphere....