Surat: Residents in the Diamond City run the risk of serious health problems from the high levels of particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere thanks to industrial emissions and noxious fumes of vehicles, particularly in the last two years.
Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB) annual PM10 data of 2017-18 shows that the particle pollution recorded from 10 locations in the city was much higher than national average.
The mean of particulate matter at two locations at Pandesara, which houses the textile mills, is 174 and 184 per micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3) per annum as against the national average of 100 ug/m3.
Sachin, which houses over 50 textile mills, has the highest mean of 188 UG/M3 followed by Delhi Gate at 164 ug/m3, Garden Silk Mills at 184 ug/m3 etc. The PM10 levels in the Diamond City in 2015-16 was in the average of 90 ug/m3.
GPCB officials said apart from vehicular pollution, air pollution from textile mills was mainly responsible for higher particle pollution in the Diamond City.
Anil Patel, vigilance officer, GPCB, told TOI, “We have made emission monitoring system mandatory for all textile units. It is directly connected to GPCB. The moment the pollution exceeds the prescribed limit, we come to know. I have issued notices to 36 textile mills in the past six months for violating pollution norms. Textile mills causing air pollution must be moved out of residential zones to protect the health of the residents.”
Many residents living near the textile mills have breathing problems, asthma and lung-related diseases.
Paresh Ghaswala is a resident of Rustompura. Krishnaram Textile Mill is located in the area. He said, “My wife is suffering from severe asthma for the last 10 years. The doctor has advised us to change the house, but there are no buyers.”
In the walled city area of Varachha and Pandesara, the PM10 levels are exceedingly high at 184 ug/m3.
Particulate matter pollution is made up of tiny particles – the tiniest are about 30 times smaller than the width of hair – that come from vehicles, factories, biomass combustion and construction dust etc. They can penetrate deep into our lungs, and cause heart and lung diseases in us.
Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), created by Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago, presents the effect of particulate matter on lifespans around the world, calculating how many life years could be saved if local governments meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) and their own national standards for air pollution.
The AQLI is based on the results of a new study of pollution and life expectancy near Huai River in China, published last year in the proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. The study isolated the effect of air pollution on lifespans, revealing that an increase of 10 micrograms of PM10 (particulate matter that is 10 micrometers or less in diameter) per cubic meter of air (ug/m3) reduces life expectancy by 0.64 years.
Also, the WHO has set the standard of PM 2.5 at 10 ug/m3 and its implementation may help increase the lifespan in cities. However, Surat’s annual average PM 2.5 level at 50 ug/m3 is frightening.