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Status of Ambient Air Quality in Andhra Pradesh

Status of Ambient Air Quality in Andhra Pradesh -2007

I. Introduction

Air quality is important simply because we cant avoid breathing the air around us. The average adult breathes in about 20 cubic meters, or 20,000 liters of air a day. Other planets have sunlight, but only our earth has air and water. Without all of these there would be no life. A diverse community of plant and animal life has thrived on this planet for millions of years, sustained by the sun and supported by the soil, water and air.

The air is made up of nitrogen and oxygen, with traces of other gases such as carbon dioxide, plus minute particles like dust. Although clean air should be freely available to all plant and animal life, humans have been gradually polluting it, putting their health at risk and the well-being of the earth itself.

Air pollutants mainly come from the discharges of gases and particles mainly from industry, motor vehicles and Biomass combustion. There are also natural sources such as wind-blown dust and smoke from bush fires. Some forms of air pollution create global problems viz., upper atmosphere ozone depletion and acid rain. The enhanced greenhouse effect also falls into this category.

The inhabitants of cities should be especially concerned, since they are exposed to a greater amount of pollutants coming from automobile traffic, commercial, industrial and manufacturing facilities, as well as other sources. Increased levels of air pollution are affecting the well being of inhabitants and imposing not just a direct economic cost by impacting human health but also threatening long-term productivity (material and vegetation damage, quality of life, reduced tourism to the country, discourage foreign investment etc.).

Rapid industrial and economic growth of the developing countries in Asia has increased urbanization and population pressure on local and national governments to keep pace with urban environmental management systems to meet the needs of the expanding cities with numerous parameters for management. Air pollution abatement strategies, solid waste management plans, supply of water and control of wastewater and sewerage systems are the essentials of environmental management. In this energy plays a crucial role in all development plans to enable a livable city. Therefore, urban governance is challenged with the rapid globalization and the need to provide basic amenities to the population.

Policy makers are active in framing rules and regulations for the better management of air pollution thereby ensuring better air quality. Rules and regulations work well at institutional level but at the individual level awareness and conscientious is very important to effectively reduce the air pollution. APPCB is assessing the ambient air quality in the state. A monitoring network with 60 ambient air quality-monitoring stations through out the state are placed to assess the changes in air quality. In addition to it in Hyderabad continuous ambient air quality monitoring station has been installed. Based on the results of these monitoring stations, the government of A.P has taken preventive measures to control air pollution from different sources. APPCB is monitoring the point source emissions regularly and directions to install / upgrade air pollution control equipment are given to the industries that are exceeding the standards.

Definition of air pollutionAir pollution means the presence in the atmosphere of any air pollutant. The substances that cause air pollution are called pollutants. They may be solid, liquid or gaseous substance (including noise) present in the atmosphere in such concentration as may be or tend to be injurious to human beings or other living creatures or plants or property or environment. Air pollution doesn't always stay where it was made. In a very short time, it can make its way around the globe. This is called transport and dispersion, which is very complex. The transport and dispersion of the pollutants are governed by wind speed, direction, temperature, local terrain and atmospheric stability.

Government of India has enacted the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981 to prevent and control the air pollution. The objective of this Act is to provide for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution, for the establishment, with a view to carrying out the aforesaid purposes, of Boards, for conferring on and assigning to such Boards powers and functions relating thereto and for matters connected therewith.

The functions of the State Board, as specified in Section 17, shall be : a. To plan a comprehensive programme for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution and to secure the execution thereofb. To advise the State Government on any matter concerning the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution

c. To collect and disseminate information relating to air pollution.d. To collaborate with the Central Board in organising the training of persons engaged or to be engaged in programmes relating to prevention, control or abatement of air pollution and to organise mass-education programmer relating theretoe. To inspect, at all reasonable times, any control equipment, industrial plant or manufacturing process and to give by order, such directions to such persons as it may consider necessary to take steps for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.f. To inspect air pollution control areas at such intervals as it may think necessary, assess the quality of air therein and take steps for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution in such areas.g. To lay down, in consultation with the Central Board and having regard to the standards for the quality of air laid down by the Central Board, standards for emission of air pollutants into the atmosphere from industrial plants and automobiles or for the discharge of any air pollutants into the atmosphere from any other source whatsoever not being a ship or an aircrafth. Provided that different standards for emission may be laid down under this clause for different industrial plants having regard to the quantity and composition of emission of air pollutants into the atmosphere from such industrial plants.i. To advise the State Government with respect to the suitability of any premises or location for carrying on any industry which is likely to cause air pollution.j. To perform such other functions as may be prescribed or as may, from time to time, be entrusted to it by the Central Board or the State Government.k. To do such other things and to perform such other acts as it may think necessary for the proper discharge of its functions and generally for the purpose of carrying into effect the purpose of the Act.

In addition to the above functions, the State Board may establish or recognise a laboratory or laboratories to enable the State Board to perform its above functions efficiently.Important Sections of the Air Act : 19, 20, 21 and 22

Section 19. Declaration of air pollution control area :

The Act has provided for measures, which are

a. Preventive in nature, in the case of industries to be established

b. In the case of industries already established they are remedial

The primary responsibility of controlling air pollution is on the Board. The very first measure to be adopted in the respect is the declaration of any area or areas within the State as air pollution control area. The sub-section thus provides that the State Government may, after consultation with the State Board, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare in such manner as may be prescribed, any area or areas within the State as air pollution control area or areas for the purposes of the Act.

As regards power to give instructions for ensuring standards for emission from automobiles, Section 20 of the Act lays down that with a view to ensuring that the standards for emission of air pollutants from automobiles laid down by the State Board under clause (g) of sub-section(1) of Section 17 are complied with the State Government shall, in consultation with the State Board, give such instructions as may be deemed necessary to the concerned authority in charge of registration of motor vehicles under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and such authority shall notwithstanding anything contained in that Act or the rules made there under be bound to comply with such instructions.

Section 40. Offences by companies.

1. Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly2. Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.

3. Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section(1), where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. Explanation :

a. "Company" means any body corporate, and includes a firm or other association of individuals; and

b. "Direction", in relation to a firm, means a pa