Pollution board says data from Bengaluru air quality monitoring study is incorrect

Instruments used to measure instant values of air pollution are not certified, so the data is unreliable, says KSPCB.

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has issued the following rejoinder on 22nd February to the press release by Climate Trends, on the air quality data monitoring exercise, published on 19th February.

[Update] On 23rd February, the team behind the study, Climate Trends and Co Media Lab issued an addendum to clarify the points made in KSPCB’s statement below. 

On 21st February 2018, Co- Media Lab and Climate Trends have released the report on air quality of Bengaluru City, where it is reported that there are huge gaps in the KSPCB data on the smaller particulate matter ( PM 2.5). In the report, Particulate Matter Levels of PM1o and PM2.5 levels are reported in the range of 74 μg/m3 to 858.5 μg/m3 and 32.5 μg/m3 to 193.5 μg/m3 respectively. The said agencies have monitored during 5th Feb to 15th Feb 2018, the particulate matter PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels between 8:30 AM and 10:30 AM using Laser based Airveda equipment of Ghaziabad India, which is not approved by any certifying agency.

In this regard, the following clarifications are issued in the public interest.

To measure different air pollutants levels in ambient air, the MoEF 8.CC, Government of India under Environment Protection Act 1986 is notified vide No SO 384(E) dated 18th November 2009.In the notification methods prescribed for measurement for PM10 and PM2.5 are as follows,

  Name of the Pollutant Methods of measurement
1 Parliculate matter (size
less than 10 pm) or PM16
pg/M3
1. Gravimetric method
2. Tapered element oscillating microbalance (TOEM)
3. Beta-ray attenuation and technique
2 Parliculate matter (size
less than 2.5 pm) or
PMz s pglM3
1. Gravimetric method
2. Tapered element oscillating microbalance (TOEM)
3. Beta-ray attenuation and technique

The above said methodologies are being followed for the measurement of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5 ) by the regulatory bodies in the entire Country viz., all State Pollution Control Boards. The CPCB has published the protocols involving the above said methods for monitoring of pollutants particulate matter in India. In these protocols, calibration, periodicity and data verification is well documented and issued the directions to all State Pollution Control Board’s to follow the same methods of measurement of Air pollutants.

The Board is monitoring the air pollution level in Karnataka as per the CPCB/MoEF&CC protocols or guidelines. Hence the monitored data by the Board is correct, reliable and indisputable.

However, some universities and national companies have started manufacturing low cost equipments without obtaining approval from the competent authority. These equipment are not approved, tested, validated and certified by any National or International agency institutes like National Physical Laboratory-Delhi, Indian Standards Organisation (ISO), United States – Environment Protection Agency (US-EPA), Monitoring Certification Scheme (MCERTS) UK and TUV Rheinland (Germany) etc.

Hence the organisations measured the particulate levels in Bangalore city without following the MoEF &CC notified protocols. These equipment and methodologies are of not approved by the competent authority. Therefore the data reported by the organisations viz., Co-Media Lab and Climate Trends on 21.2.2018 is incorrect. The media should not publish unreliable reports which do not follow standard protocols as notified by MoEF&CC, Government of India and mislead the general public.

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