posted |16-Mar-2022
BMC to install air purifiers at traffic intersections to check carbon emission

Mumbai In an attempt to reduce the impact of carbon emission, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is set to install air purifiers in all the major traffic intersections of Mumbai, including those in the island city and suburban belt.

The primary objective of installing these purifiers is to identify the Air Quality Index (AQI) of an area at the local level.

PM 2.5 and PM 10 are microscopic components, with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres, that are suspended in the air. These airborne particles, mainly emitted from automobiles, power plants and industries, are toxic pollutants that are hazardous, as they could be inhaled easily.

These purifiers will implement a combination of electric and wave energy to attract airborne PM particles in the ambient atmosphere. These particles will then get attached to each other similar to magnets. As more particles band together, they will grow bigger in size and eventually become harmless and fall in the ground like a grain of sand. Each of the purifiers can work in the 20 metre-radius around the installed spot.

According to senior civic officials, BMC identified as many as 70 traffic junctions across Mumbai where these purifiers will be set up in the days to come. As a pilot basis, the BMC has set up one such purifier at the Mahapalika Marg just outside the BMC headquarters and adjacent to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT).

“This pilot purifier will be installed for 15-20 days. In the meanwhile, we will monitor the AQI of this area regularly and will compare the results of before and after installation. We had already monitored the air quality of this area for three weeks before installing the device,” said a senior BMC official, requesting anonymity.

Furthermore, the official maintained that after observing the results, the BMC will take a final call on where these purifiers could be installed next. Civic officials also maintained that the location of Mahapalika Marg has been chosen because it is one of the busiest traffic nodes of Mumbai and is also close to CSMT.

“The primary source of air pollution are carbon particles emitted from vehicles. This is why we are planning to install these purifiers at traffic junctions. These will improve the air quality severely and will also lessen carbon footprint,” said the official.

Meanwhile, experts however said that the residual analysis of the PM components that are mitigated from the air needs to be carried out.

“Air purifiers are the need of the hour in Mumbai as the density of PM components in air is increasing everyday. After filtration, proper research of the residue particles needs to be carried out for a long-term solution,” said Dr Arun Sawant, former pro-VC of Mumbai University and president of Society for Clean Environment (SOCLEEN).

“Air purifiers are remedial measures. We also have to think about bringing down the carbon emissions by a significant margin by coming up with more effective policies that will bring out results at the ground level,” said Amita Bhide, DEAN of School of Habitat Studies, Center for Environment Health, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

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