Dusty air and roads

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/5/2019 12:22:46 PM IST

 Of all towns/cities in Nagaland, Dimapur city happens to be the most populated with around 1,22,834 (as per 2011 census) of which 64,300 are males and 58,534 females. Dimapur city is considered to be the commercial hub of Nagaland. The vehicle population of Dimapur is also the highest with 61,823 registered vehicles of which non commercial vehicles registered are around 48,482, commercial passenger vehicles around 8,497 and commercial goods vehicles around 4,830. Under various categories, there are 27,737 two wheelers; 8061 three-wheelers and 26,025 four wheelers and above. Dimapur in particular, has been recording a very high level of dust pollution over the decades. In order to arrest the rising problem, Nagaland Pollution Control Board(NPCB) envisaged a plan that proposes to bring down the level of air pollutants within a given time frame by the responsible departments and implementing agencies and the co-operation of the public at large. The sources of air pollution in Dimapur are identified as - dust raised from vehicular movement on the dusty roads; vehicular emissions; burning of wastes such as municipal waste bins, garden/leave waste, etc; emission from small scale industries such as stone crushers, sand mahals, tyre vulcanization unit, etc and construction activity. For reference, the NPCB recorded hourly air quality at Purana Bazar through Respirable Dust Sampler(RDS). The RDS is used for sampling of Particulate Matter (PM10) which refers to the fine particles that are 10 micrometers (pm) or smaller in diameter. Fine Particulate Sampler APM 550 MFC is used for sampling of Particulate Matter PM2.5 which refers to fine particles that are 2.5 micrometers (pm) or smaller in diameter It was established that the air pollution resulting from particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) is beyond the permissible limit of National Ambient Quantity Standards as indicated below. For instance, while the permissible limit of PM10 is 100 µg/m3 (hourly) the quality of air was 404.7µg/m.3 While there had been much uproar over the quality of air in Delhi and other places, Dimapur suffers mostly from dust pollution. The dry winter months also translate into dust and this is most profound in areas where the ongoing construction of four-lane. Dust pollution along the ongoing construction of four-lane along the NH 29 is a matter of deep concern. Buildings and stationary vehicles are invariably coated with several centimetres of dust. This is a phenomenon in the area where the air is heavily laden with dust. The impact on the health of people living in and around the NH 29 is a matter of concern. Dust particles themselves are well known for their potential to cause respiratory and cardiovascular health problems. They can also irritate eyes, throat and skin. Large dust particles tend to be trapped in the nose and mouth when you breathe them in and can be readily breathed out or swallowed harmlessly. On the other hand, smaller or fine dust particles are invisible. Fine dust particles are more likely to penetrate deeply into the lungs while ultrafine particles can be absorbed directly into the blood stream. It is time that the NPCB and authorities take up air pollution issue with active participation from voluntary organisations since the health of the public especially the children are put at risk.

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