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Vehicular emissions are the biggest culprit for Pune’s pollution

pollution in pune

According to the latest Pune city’s emission inventory survey, vehicle emissions are responsible for 91 percent of the pollution in the city’s air. Particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels have risen by 70% in the last seven years, while PM 10 levels have risen by 61%. Controlled industry interventions, it seems, have yielded positive results.

Who conducted the survey?

The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology produced the inventory report based on data collected over seven years between 2013 and 2020. Savitribai Phule Pune University vice-chancellor Nitin Karmalkar presented the study on Friday in the presence of IITM Director Prof. Ravi Nanjundiah, lead author Prof Gufran Beig, founder project director of SAFAR, Dr BS Murthy, and Prof. Gosavi.

IITM Pune, in collaboration with SPPU and with the expert advice of Prof. Saroj Kumar Sahu of Utkal University, conducted the emission inventory campaign for the Ministry of Earth Sciences. The fine resolution of 400m gridded products were developed using a statistical emission model developed by IITM scientists using a Geographical Information System (GIS). During the 2019-20 academic year, a 6-month emission inventory campaign involving more than 200 students from IITM, SPPU, and Utkal University was conducted in the Pune Metropolitan area, including Pune, Pimpri, and Chinchwad, resulting in about 2,50,000 hours of work. This exercise aimed to collect primary activity data from 26 separate local sources of air pollution in real-time.

What did the results state?

In comparison to other sources, the transportation sector is found to be the largest contributor to PM 2.5 pollution. Although industrial output has increased over time, emissions have only increased slightly. This may be attributed to the higher quality of fuel used in units, as well as successful technical advances and strict adherence to standards. Similarly, there has been a substantial rise in Organic Carbon (81.3%), NOx (72.8%), and VOCs pollution (69.8 percent ). Sulfur dioxide emissions increased by 30.2 percent, the least of the eight contaminants studied in this study, according to the survey.

A comparison of Pune’s previous (2012-13) and current (2019-20) pollution inventories in PMR shows a substantial increase in the city’s total emission load. Particulate contaminants are the major regulators of Pune’s air quality (PM2.5 and PM10). Over the last seven years, there has been a substantial increase in particulate pollution emissions. An increase of 70 percent and 61 percent were found in PM2.5 and PM10 respectively from 2012-13 to 2019-20. The number of vehicles in PMR has increased dramatically over the last decade.

To obtain activity accounting, click counters, low volume samplers, and various survey types were used. This exercise was previously completed in 2012-13, before the introduction of the SAFAR method, which has a resolution of 1km. Since then, major shifts in land use and demography have occurred, and several previously unknown sources have now been quantified. SAFAR’s high-resolution emission forecasts are likely to be valuable information for scientists, regulators, and the CPCB’s NCAP programme. The rate of change in anthropogenic emissions of atmospheric constituents over the last seven years is also included in this study.

IITM further stated that Emission inventory is a scientific method of identifying aggregated local source contribution and its region-specific spatial distribution within a confined boundary such as PMR. It’s a better tool for identifying hotspots and devising control strategies. The latest project focused on a variety of small sectors/factors such as road conditions, transport movement patterns from neighbouring areas, fast-slow-stagnant traffic scenarios, the uninformed market, construction operation, aviation, practise by immigrant workers, hospital rush and vehicles from outside state, changing lifestyles/cooking habits, and so on. This will be in addition to historically dominant sectors such as transportation, industry, residential cooking, power, suspended dust, trash burning, etc.

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