[GS3] Pollution: National Air Quality Index, SAFAR Technology, Parafoil Drone, PthalatesDevendra Vishwakarma
- #1: National Air quality index (AQI): WHY?
- Features of new AQI
- Criticism of new Air Quality Index
- #2: SAFAR
- #3: Smog sucker Chinese Parafoil drone
- #4: Pthalates, Airfresheners and Pollution
- Mock Questions
National Air quality index (AQI): WHY?
- Mains Relevance: GS3: Environmental Pollution.
- Part of the Swatch Bharat Abhiyan, Modi wants to inform public about the pollution and its ill-effects.
- Presently, Government agencies publish air-quality data with technical-jargon like PM2.5, PM10. Common man cannot understand.
- The new Airquality index (AQI) will use color-coded table to show air-quality and its effect on health. Thus even common man can understand easily. Their USP being “One Number- One Colour-One Description.”
Features of new AQI
- Who? Environment and Central Pollution control board. (2014, October.)
- Will be monitor air quality in 46 cities having above 10 lakh population + all state capitals.
- After 5 years, entire India will be monitored.
- Earlier index only monitored three parameters. New AQI will monitor 8 type of pollutants
- For short-term 24 hours averaging period.
|PM10||Coarse Pollutants with a diameter of 10 microns or less. Mostly from dust and smoke. Create breathing difficulty particularly among asthma patients and elderly.|
Based on above 8 pollutant levels, the air quality of given city, will be classified into following 6 color-coded categories.
|2.satisfactory||51-100||Minor Breathing discomfort to sensitive people.|
|3.Moderately polluted||101-200||Breathing discomfort to asthma patents, elderly and children.|
|4.poor||201-300||Breathing discomfort to all|
|5.Very poor||301-400||Respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.|
|6.Severe||401-500||Health impact even on light physical work. Serious impact on people with heart/lung disease.|
Criticism of new Air Quality Index
- Since 90s, industrial units have to install instruments to measure air-quality and send data to state pollution control boards. If too much pollution =>unit will be shut down.
- But Industrial units deliberately using India-made (faulty) machines to measure PM2.5. So reported number is less than actual pollution.
- Such Instrument manufacturers only need to declare “self-certification” that their machine meets quality standards. Government not doing checks on such products, by itself. (counter-argument: it’ll lead to inspector raj and bribery).
- They’ve prepared one index to be used uniformly for Entire India. We need separate indexes for residential vs industrial areas; cities vs towns vs villages.
- For example: in village air, methane high due to open compost pits and animal husbandry. YET under this index, village air-quality will be “good”, because methane not monitored.
- Doesn’t monitor Benzene. Benzene is a carcinogen chemical from Petrol and diesel. USA monitors its level.
- Mere informing the citizens through a color-coded table = insufficient. Need to include conditional safety protocols in it.
- For example, In China- if air quality index reaches red level, they shut down primary schools. Counter argument: Under US embassy’s Air quality index, Delhi is in purple category=one step more dangerous than Red. So Delhi will have to permanently shut down schools=>coaching business expands. Bigger holes in parents’ pockets.
Mains Relevance: GS3: Achievement of Indians, Indigenization of technology.