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World Environment Day Petition: Himachal has dirty air too….

5th June 2017

“Himachal has dirty air too” Online Petition launched on World Environment Day.

Appeal to Himachal Pollution Control Board to safeguard Himachal’s air, monitor all air pollution parameters

On World Environment Day, an online petition titled “Himachal has dirty air too! Himachal Pollution Control Board install Air Quality Monitoring stations to monitor all air pollution parameters!” has been launched by environmental action group Himdhara Collective especially focusing on the Air Pollution problem in Baddi Barotiwala Nalagarh Industrial Area. The petition has been started on Jhatkaa.org’s air pollution dedicated campaign platform: Air A!ert.

Kuldeep Singh Pathania, Chaiperson of the Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board is being petitioned to urgently formulate an Air Pollution Monitoring and Control Action Plan for the Baddi Barotiwala Nalagarh Industrial Area. This includes the setting up of air pollution control and monitoring devices to measure the Air Quality Index as per the Central Pollution Control Board guidelines, and to make Air Quality Data for industrial towns of H.P. publicly available on the Pollution Control Board website.

Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh (BBN) in Nalagarh tehsil of Solan District (Himachal Pradesh) has witnessed rapid industrialization since 2003 when the Central Government announced an industrial subsidy package for the state. Since then close to 3000 units have come up in the area most of them being highly polluting in nature, like pharmaceuticals, chemicals, plastics, dying units and boilers. Heavy extraction of ground water, ground water pollution, toxicity in air, fly ash and hazardous waste dumping have been the key problems that have arisen in a stretch of almost 35 kms with 21 Panchayats and 115 villages being affected.

“Air pollution is the biggest, most urgent, crisis facing this area.  The BBN region nearly made it to the Central Pollution Control Board’s list of “critically polluted” areas list in 2009. Air samples have shown the presence of heavy metals like mercury, lead, manganese, nickel and cadmium in the air, which could be fatal for the local population. Major health problems that have been reported in the area include chronic respiratory and skin problems. Dust due to industrial units and commercial vehicular emissions as well as poor conditions of the road have become a severe health hazard”, states the petition.

As per news reports the level of ambient particulate matter (APM) has been exceeding the National Air Quality Standards consecutively from 2011 to 2015 in the state’s industrial hub of Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh. Despite regular directions from the CPCB to formulate a clear action plan to monitor and control the air pollution in the region, there has been no headway made by the HPPCB in this direction. “There is an urgent need for citizen’s action in this direction. It is essential that air quality monitoring devices are set up and air quality data is made public so that violations can be accounted for”, said the creators of the petition.

You can sign the petition here:   https://act.airalert.in/petitions/himachal-pradesh-too-has-a-toxic-zone

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