With the level of ambient particulate matter (APM) exceeding the National Air Quality Standards consecutively from 2011 to 2015 in the state’s industrial hub of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to take effective steps to maintain pollution level within the prescribed norms.
Following these directions a slew of directions have been issued by the officials of the SPCB to various departments like Municipal Committees at Baddi and Nalagarh, BBN Development Authority and Regional Transport Official to devise suitable action plans to reduce air pollution within a time-bound period.
The response, however, has been lackadaisical and not even a single department has submitted any action plan so far, confirmed Brijbhushan, Executive Engineer, SPCB.
The BBNDA, which was undertaking various infrastructure development projects in the area, is supposed to play a key role to control air pollution and devise mitigation measures which include ensuring that civil contractors engaged in various developmental works and operating hot mix plants, ready mix concrete plants and stone crushers providing grit, sand, etc. have a valid consent to operate from the SPCB.
The authority is also supposed to ensure that the muck generated during construction and land development activities is handled scientifically and disposed of as per the provisions of the Construction and Demolition Rules, 2016. It was worth mentioning that open operations of such units were causing large scale air pollution which could trigger respiratory diseases.
The authority has also been directed to ensure that there was no encroachment by the scrap dealers and there was a complete ban on the biomass and garbage burning which was a major contributor to the air pollution.
The authority has also been directed to ensure proper landscaping and provision of interlocking tiles on the paved road as well as on the metalled pedestrian ways. With cases of open dumping of solid waste coming to fore, the authority has also been directed to ensure that such waste is managed as per the provisions of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and such waste is not burnt in the open before being scientifically disposed.
The large-scale presence of jhuggis was also considered a major contributor to the air pollution and the officials of the SPCB have directed the authority to ensure that use of fossil fuels should be discouraged besides ensuring their removal within a time-bound manner.
Chief Executive Officer, BBNDA, Rajiv Kumar, while confirming the news said a low cost housing policy has been put in place to rehabilitate the slum dwellers. He said contractors who come to seek registration would be encouraged to seek consent to operate from the SPCB and added that they would coordinate with the local MCs to contribute their bit in checking air pollution.
Story: The Tribune