Kochi: The National Green Tribunal has issued orders to keep ready a task force to investigate and find the reason for the acrid odour of chemicals in the air in Ernakula
The tribunal entrusted the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) with the responsibility for this purpose. The Green Tribunal took a suo motu case following a memorandum submitted by A Rajagopal of Eroor, complaining that he was facing breathing difficulties at night because of the chemical materials and black particles floating in the atmosphere.
The tribunal’s order said that an immediate investigation should be conducted and a report submitted if anyone, not just the petitioner, complaints of chemical odour in the air.
The tribunal took the follow-up action and issued the order after accepting the recommendations of the three-member subcommittee consisting of the Ernakulam District Collector, senior scientist of the Central Pollution Control Board, and the senior environment scientist of the State Pollution Control Board.
14 likely sources
The Green Tribunal has incorporated in its order the shortlist prepared by the subcommittee after identifying 14 possible sources from where the odour of chemical materials is likely to emanate. The Pollution Control Board (PCB) will maintain constant monitoring of the areas where these factories are situated.
It is alleged that the chemical odour was markedly lower on the two days when investigations were conducted on the orders of the NGT as the information about the investigation had been apparently leaked.
There are also complaints that in the days following the investigation, the odour of chemicals was felt more intensely. It is in this context that the NGT issued the order that an immediate investigation should be conducted and a report submitted on a complaint by anyone about acrid smell in the air.
Monday’s air quality
According to the National Air Quality Index, the rate of Particulate Matter (pm 2.5) air pollution in Kochi from 12 am to 8 am on Monday was equal to the air pollution during New Delhi’s rush hour. The PCB found the cause of air pollution in Kochi from midnight when vehicles are off the road are factories that emit chemical pollutants into the air.