Environment ministry plays nationalism card in ozone related deaths, rejects global study

New Delhi: India's top pollution regulator has rejected a global study which claimed that the country records the highest number of early deaths due to surface-level ozone.

A senior scientist of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) claimed surface-level ozone formation has, in fact, come down due to "reduction" in solar radiation and that it stays well within the safe standards in the country.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The State of Global Air report 2017, released last month, stated that surpassing China, India witnessed a 150 per cent rise in the lives lost over the past two decades from ozone pollutants. The toll in India was 13 times higher than Bangladesh's, and 21 times higher than Pakistan's, it claimed.

CPCB's air lab in-charge Dipankar Saha, however, said, "There is no violation of our standards. Anyone can say anything. I am not aware of their methodology but ozone-level is not exceeding so seriously in India."

"It is exceeding in some places, some day. But it is not a routine phenomenon. You cannot link early deaths to ozone. Moreover, solar radiation is reducing so ozone formation will be less," he said.

He said CPCB was in the process of preparing a report on the same.

Union Environment Minister Anil Dave had observed that the report was based on extrapolation "without" due scientific validation. A "proud nation" always believes in its own data, he had said.

Ground-level ozone, as opposed to stratospheric ozone which shields the earth from ultra-violet rays, is a product of chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and carbon monoxide (CO) among others in the presence of strong sunlight.

As per CPCB standards, ozone levels should not exceed 100 micrograms per metre cube (µg/m3) over a period of eight hours.

Monitoring data of Delhi's two stations, Shadipur and Dwarka, provided by CPCB show ozone levels touched peaks of up to 164 (ug/m3) in May last year in the city although monthly or annual average data mask the intensity of the situation.

In May, Shadipur and Dwarka saw ozone exceeding the safe limit 12 and seven times respectively. Everytime it happened between 2 pm and 10 pm.

Updated Date: Mar 02, 2017 22:00 PM

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