Tests conducted by the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) in February have found that river water quality in fifteen locations in the State was ‘not satisfactory’. Also, the air quality index of Guwahati in March was categorised as ‘moderately polluted’.
Concerned at the rising pollution levels in the State, the government has decided to install additional testing stations across the State to monitor the parameters.
Currently, water testing is done in 101 centres in the State, three of them in Guwahati, while air quality is monitored in 23 centres, six of which are in Guwahati.
PCBA Member Secretary BK Baruah said that 63 additional centres to monitor water quality parameters will be set up in the State. Besides, a Continuous Air Quality Monitoring Station will be set up somewhere in Dispur.
‘The station in Dispur will be built at a cost of Rs 1.10 crore. The Central Government will fund 90 per cent of it, while the State will bear the rest. The station will have a digital board where the air quality parameters will be displayed for the public,’ he said.
While work on the water quality monitoring stations has started, the station at Dispur is expected to be functional by August this year. The additional monitoring stations will help give a more microscopic view of the situation as there were lots of gaps in the present setup.
The air quality index in Guwahati in March last was 164, which in terms of pollution officials is classified as ‘moderately polluted’. The average level of PM10 (particulate matter 10 micrometres or less in diameter) in the city was found to be very high at 196 units against the safe level of 100 units. The pollution levels in the city may cause breathing discomfort to people with lung disease as also children and older adults.
Rise in pollution
The rising pollution in the city has been blamed on increasing vehicular traffic, construction activities and windy conditions.
Even the water quality index in case of the Brahmaputra river at Pandu, Dhubri and Dhenukapahar, Dhansiri in Golaghat, Disang at Gundamghat, Buridihing at Margherita, Digboi river, Kolong at Morigaon, Manas and Beki at Barpeta, Pagladiya at Nalbari, and Kohora river was not found to be ‘satisfactory’, as per the tests conducted in February last.
In Guwahati, dissolved oxygen in Bharalu, the water of which has tested positive for harmful chemicals, has been always found to be nil.
Source- The Assam Tribune