Matters concerned with Environment

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Better air quality Standards in the offing?

New air quality monitoring system by September: Ramesh
Nitya Kaushik Posted online: Sunday , Mar 07, 2010 at 0124 hrs
Mumbai : By September, a new monitoring system will be in place across the nation to ensure that the latest, more stringent national air quality standards are maintained, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said here on Saturday.
“I admit that while we set up norms, our ability to implement them have not been up to the mark. However, the new air quality standards that we declared in November are a benchmark for us to follow.” The minister was speaking to mediapersons after a conference on climate change.
He said the ministry would also bring in a system to monitor and control noise pollution. “The new air standards have not just been brought down drastically but we have also clubbed the industrial, residential and rural regions into a single zone. We will slowly ensure that these standards are followed stringently.”
This paper had, on December 8, reported that the ministry had reduced permissible air quality limits drastically even as the earlier norms were yet to be met. The ministry had said it tightened the norms following a four-year study by IIT Kanpur and to keep pace with global norms.
According to the new norms, the permissible SO2, NO2 and RSPM standards in residential and industrial areas have been reduced to 50 µg/m3, 40 µg/m3 and 60 µg/m3.
On the 88 critically-polluted industrial clusters, which include Maharashtra’s Chandrapur, Dombivili, Aurangabad, Navi Mumbai, Tarapur and Chembur, he said, “A credible policy is needed in these clusters to control pollution. The ministry will not give permission for any new industries till we have such a policy.”
On coal mining, power projects in Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg:
Called for a study on the ‘carrying capacity’ of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, where power projects of over 35,000 MW are planned. “Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and even Goa have a fragile ecosystem and the extent of ecological strain they can take should be studied. Similar studies have been conducted in Sikkim and Uttarakhand.”
“By mid-April, we plan to make public the new CRZ 2010. We are still awaiting comments of the Maharashtra Government, but I fully subscribe with the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Committee that housing for the economically weaker sections, built by the state, should be exempted from CRZ.”

On Navi Mumbai airport:
“The CIDCO had, in 2009, sought the terms of reference (ToR) under the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification for the airport. On February 8, we have sent our Expert Appraisal Committee report to the CIDCO with a request for additional EIA. The ball is not in our court now.”

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