Power plant emission in suburbs turns city air toxic – Times of India

Kolkata News

Kolkata: Smog persisted for the fourth consecutive day in the city with a thick blanket of haze hanging low till late morning, reducing visibility and disrupting transport services — road, water and air. The city air quality index improved a shade on Friday with AQI swerving from very poor (301-400) to poor (201-300). Health experts have advised against any strenuous outdoor physical activities, particularly for people above 50.
“Recent research evidence has also shown that as the state begins to feel a nip in the air, the city experiences high sulphur dioxide (SO2) concentrations, which in most cases are not locally generated but carried by the complex wind dynamics that dominate the Indian landmass,” said a report titled ‘State of Bengal’s Air’ by SwitchON Foundation and Bengal Clean Air Network (Bengal CAN).
Due to the calm conditions, pollutants are persisting at the lower levels of the atmosphere. “This calls for action for controlling secondary particulate matter pollution in Kolkata,” said the report.
A CSE study has indicated that the local ambient SO2 concentration in Kolkata is quite low. The sudden increase in PM2.5 across Kolkata is largely due to emission from power plants and industries in the suburbs. In fact, Urban Emissions Info, which provides insight into air pollution in urban agglomerations to support public dialogue and policy discussions, indicates that this particular smog episode in Kolkata is influenced by power plant emissions and domestic use of solid fuel.
On Friday, smog kept the sun hidden from view till after 10am that left the city cold and grey till noon. Meteorological conditions changed ever so slightly thereafter. The absolute calm that persisted for the last three days was broken by some vertical wind movement, dispersing some pollutants. “The smog contains a very high concentration of finer particulate matter like PM2.5, which are ultrafine particles of diameter less than 2.5 micrometers. They can easily travel straight into the bloodstream,” PCB scientists have warned.
Weathermen said the fog could persist till the weekend since moisture – one of the factors that contribute to its formation – was still flowing into Kolkata. “There’s a high-pressure zone above Bay of Bengal that is supplying moisture. Since the wind speed is very low, the moisture is easily crystalizing into fog,” said Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) director GK Das.


Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/power-plant-emission-in-suburbs-turns-city-air-toxic/articleshow/79685667.cms