500 signatures reached
To: Shri Kuldeep Singh Pathania, Chairman, Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board
Himachal Pollution Control Board: Formulate Air Pollution Control and Monitoring Plan
We want the HPSPCB to formulate an Air Pollution Monitoring and Control Action Plan which should include the setting up of air pollution control and monitoring devices in BBN industrial area 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.
Why is this important?
Grab a Boro plus sachet, a bottle of your P&G Shampoo, your J&J soap, a tube of soframycin, your Dabur herbal toothpaste and just look at where it was manufactured. You are likely to find Baddi, Barotiwala in fine print.
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 an investment of thousands of crores, into close to 3000 (plus) registered industrial units has happened. A lot of the highly polluting industries from Gujarat and other parts of the country set up base here because of the subsidy offered.
A large number of the units here are 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.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) 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 (BBN). So much so that the CPCB has in early 2017 directed the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to take effective steps to maintain pollution level within the prescribed norms.
But, the Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board has failed to regularly monitor air quality in the area. In 2009 the National Ambient Air Quality standards were amended to accommodate monitoring of at least 12 parameters including PM 10, PM 2.5 and a range of volatile organic compounds and heavy metals in the air. However, HPPCB monitors merely 4 out of these parameters in air. With over 3000 industrial units in the region, most polluting (air pollution) of which are cement plants and pharmaceutical units, the PCB still chooses to place the air sampling devices on the road sides in these regions rather than downwind of these units.
Himachal Pradesh is known for its clean, crisp, mountain air. Let’s not allow Himachal’s pristine air to be polluted. Hold the HPSPCB accountable by asking them to do their job and set up Air Quality Monitoring stations in the BBN area.
How it will be delivered
We will submit this petition personally to Kuldeep Singh Pathania, Chairman of Himachal Pollution Control Board. A press conference will also be held at Baddi to secure media coverage as well as increase awareness.