Monday, May 4, 2015

Air Pollution: Act or Its too late

Well the topic seems to be boring one. It has been one of our concerns from the time when we were in kindergarten (as I remember) and it still persists and bothers us. Still what we are doing is just talking about planting trees and other less pragmatic methods and solutions. Here I have tried to cover the seriousness of the issue as well as have tried to explain some very practical solutions. Hope you will find it benefitting one.
To specify things and to pen down my matter in precise manner, I have taken Raipur as my subject city.
Raipur is the capital city of Chhattisgarh. Having 24 hour electricity, major educational institutions (NIT, IIM) in its heart and having good administrative track record makes Raipur a perfect city to live in. But then I come across this news and then I think that somewhere in hurry of becoming a megacity, Raipur missed something and the coming generation have to pay that cost.

When it comes to air pollution, a World Health Organization (WHO) report concluded that Raipur has gained the dubious distinction of being the third worst city in India and has found its way on the list of top twenty polluted cities in world. Environmentalists fear that it's only a matter of time that this city would top the list, if urgent steps aren't taken to improve the air quality. And if local researchers and environmentalists are to be believed, the annual average levels of PM10 is 700 per cubic meter in some areas of city, which is 11 times more than Central Pollution Control Board's prescribed safe limit of 60 micrograms per cubic meter.
What is PM10?
Particulate matter is the collective term used to describe very small solid, liquid or gaseous particles in the air. Some of these particles are big enough to be seen while others are so small that they are invisible to the human eye and small enough for us to inhale. A PM10 particle is less than 10 micrometers (9m) in size, or one fifth of the diameter of a human hair. PM10 comes from man-made sources such as burning coal, oil, wood and light fuel oil in domestic fires, motor vehicles and industrial processes. Natural sources of particles include sea salt, dust, pollens and volcanic activity.
1.       Sudden increase in the number of vehicles.
2.       Toxic industrial waste.
3.        Domestic waste.
According to a reliable source state's industrial policy does not protect the interests of local people and the environment. Many sponge iron units have come up in the area and many others are in the process. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 tons coal is used by functional sponge iron units. Some small-scale industries, like nearly 50-60 brick kilns, are also mushrooming around Raipur. A study by NGM says most of these kilns operate as Bull Trench Kilns and don't follow the norms of Fixed Chimney methods. Their wastes cause rspm content to exceed the permissible limit by over four-five per cent. Air pollution caused by their contaminants affects an area of up to 10 square kilometers (sq. km) during winters and monsoons and 25-30 sq. km during summer.


There are various realistic ways through which we can tackle this problem.
1.       We can plant trees and organize ‘Vanmahotsav’. Someone has said that “ If trees were to double as Wi-Fi antenna wed be living in a greener planet and spend more time in parks than in pc”
2.       We can install Air quality monitors which can be installed in each and every home of Raipur city as it is quite affordable and inexpensive.

AirCasting is a platform for recording, mapping, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. Each AirCasting session lets you capture real-world measurements, annotate the data to tell your story, and share it via the Crowd Map.
Using the AirCasting Android app, AirCasters can record, map, and share:
  • Sound levels recorded by their phone microphone;
  • Temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) gas concentrations recorded by the Arduino-powered AirCasting Air Monitor;
  • Heart rate, heart rate variability, R to R, breathing rate, activity level, peak acceleration and core temperature measurements.

  • Air quality sensor are very cheap. As shown above it is of maxm. Rs. 600. Along with it we need an Arduino board which costs approx rs. 800 and now all we need is a smartphone through which we can get update on the current level of pollutants in air.

The code and the application are open sourced by the developer and one needs not panic about it. One can install in his/her home by his own and can be conscious about the air pollution.

3.      Generally after using appliances we switch off the appliance but often forget to unplug it from socket board. Some of the facts are pointed below that will make you ponder on your decision aftermath when you don’t unplug your appliance.
Your microwave consumes 3.5W when plugged in and not in use (that’s 35 mobile phone chargers worth), printer draws 5.9W when on and not actually printing (59 mobile phone chargers worth), Nintendo Wii draws a whopping 9.5W when on and not in use (95 mobile phone chargers worth), even cradles for cordless home phones can be consuming 8 times more electricity than mobile phone chargers.

4.      Site giving real time data about the air quality standards so that there could be partiality and we could feel as well see the changes. Many countries have did so early and we are lagging behind them. For instance in China, real time updates are made on their site and even we could see that and learn many things.

5.       Car pooling and by using public transport as much as we can.
6.       Travel lightly and remove any unnecessary items that may weigh down your vehicle.
7.       Store all solvents in airtight containers.
8.       Print and photocopy on both sides of paper.
9.       Bring your lunch or walk to a nearby restaurant to reduce auto emissions.

So from above methods we could get an outlay to minimise air pollution. We can even contribute our part by instaliing air quality monitor in our departments. There are various other methods by which we can control air pollution.
And we can contribute our bit, and we must do that.

Thanks for reading. I hope that the content might have gone fine. Please don't forget to leave a comment. Your views and reviews always matter. :-)

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