Expressing concern over the ambient air quality of Kolkata and Howrah, the Kolkata Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday named the principal secretary (home), the principal secretary (environment), K N Agarwal, a scientist of the Central Pollution Control Board, Kolkata region, and Prof S C Santra of Kalyani University as members of a technical committee to monitor air quality.
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The committee has been tasked to collect daytime and night time samples from areas of heavy traffic in the twin cities and pinpoint the sources of air pollution.
The committee will assess whether there are adequate number of centres to test air quality as well as the efficiency of the PUC (Pollution Under Control) centres.
An interim report will have to be given in one and half months and final report will have to be given in three months.
The direction emanates from a case moved last November by environmental activist Subhas Dutta seeking the intervention of the tribunal to reduce automobile emissions, and, inter alia, formation of a technical committee of experts independent of state government control to assist in the matter.
A report of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board placed before the tribunal stated that the air in Kolkata and Howrah is predominantly affected by particulate pollution and oxides of nitrogen if data in this regard collected over the years is anything to go by.
Automobile emission and emissions from construction sites are major sources of pollution, the report stated.
Kolkata is environmentally challenged by air pollution and ambient air quality should be measured and analysed which would be proper information of credible nature to overcome the problem, the tribunal, comprising Justice V R Kingaonkar (retired) and P C Misra, observed.
We feel a technical monitoring committee should be formed, it stated.
The tribunal noted that while air quality data is claimed to be available on the WBPCB web site, the data is insufficient.