Maharashtra records 1,700 gg of PM10 emission each year, finds study


A study has reported that Maharashtra experiences 1,700 giga grams (gg) of particulate matter (PM10) emissions each year. According to research done by an environmentalist between March 2019 and 2020, wind-blown road dust accounts for the highest 29% of that number while the residential sector was responsible for 22% of the state’s emissions of PM10.

Environmental Researcher Dr Saroj Kumar Sahu, professor at Utkal University in Bhubaneswar in his study claimed that Maharashtra had recorded a PM10 emission of 1,700 gg per year, with wind-blown road dust being the largest contributor at 29% in 2019-2020.

To put this in comparison, according to a study by the University of California, Los Angeles, emissions from the transportation sector were at 10%, while those from the construction industry accounted for 6.5%, followed by the burning of municipal solid waste at 5.3 % and crop residue at 5.7%, among other sources.

The study also showed that one of the main sources of PM10 emissions in the state were thermal power plants and industries. According to the report, the open burning of municipal solid waste has brought about a new issue because it easily releases various types of air pollutants into the atmosphere.

By recognizing the significance of regional sources and adapting policy over time, Dr. Sahu has been creating national and city-specific emission inventories for a variety of critical air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

“Maharashtra is the country’s most prosperous state and has excelled in the industrial, agricultural, automotive and tourism sectors. It is also the most urbanized state, with more than 50% population living in urban areas and the second-most industrialized with 37,102 industries as of 2020,” Dr Sahu said.

Emissions in non-attainment cities

Dr Sahu told that the National Clean Air Program (NCAP), launched by the central government, has a time-bound objective to improve air quality in 132 “non-attainment” cities (where the air does not meet the national ambient air quality standards ).

When discussing the emission patterns in the three Vidarbha non-attainment cities of Nagpur, Chandrapur, and Amravati, Dr. Sahu noted that while Nagpur’s missions may appear to be higher than those of Chandrapur and Amravati, the city’s area is significantly larger than those of the other two locations.

According to him, the estimated annual PM emission load for Nagpur was 105 gg, for Chandrapur it was 78 gg, and for Amravati it was 53 gg.

nagpur

High energy demand is accompanied by high air pollution levels. To consistently meet the energy demand, he said, at least 26 thermal power plants are dispersed throughout the state.

According to Dr. Sahu, thermal power plants account for 34% of Nagpur’s total PM emission sources, followed by unorganized other sectors (16%) and wind-blown road dust (21%).

In unorganized sectors, construction activities account for 9% and municipal solid waste burning 5%, while subsector slum cooking contributes 7% and street vendors 4% to PM emissions, Dr Sahu said.

Chandrapur

Thermal power plants account for 46% of all emissions in Chandrapur, one of the state’s most polluted cities, followed by residential areas at 11% and wind-blown road dust at 21%.

Recently, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has listed Chandrapur as a critically polluted city, for which special attention must be given to improve the air quality Dr Sahu said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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