GPCB appoints new member secy to clean up processes – Times of India

Ahmedabad: In a drastic step on Wednesday, the Gujarat government transferred A V Shah, the incumbent member secretary of the state pollution watchdog, replacing him with senior environmental engineer Devang Thaker as in-charge member secretary.
The move comes in the wake of demand from industrial lobbies, panchayats and nagarpalikas located near industrial estates for a cleaner, standard operating procedure (SOP)-based clearance for projects and greater accountability on matters of pollution.
Thaker is known for his role in framing a number of policies related to hazardous waste handling rules, coprocessing and the latest SOP for hazardous waste recycling.
He has been strategically brought in to streamline and clean up many of GPCB’s allegedly corrupt, red tape-riddled clearance procedures. Meanwhile, Shah has been transferred as senior environmental engineer of Porbandar regional office. Thaker is part of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) and is also central to the implementation of the particulate matter emission trading system (PM-ETS), which is to be replicated in the country.
Sources in the GPCB claim that a number of factors led the state government to appoint Thaker. These included his proven ability in defusing controversies around environmental issues, such as the case of the marine deep sea discharge criteria, and around matters pertaining to legal action in case of unintentional accidents in industrial clusters. He has been brought in to clear hurdles blocking creation of hazardous waste facilities, and facilitating merit-based environmental clearances for infrastructure facilities, besides holding industries accountable in keeping with the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
“Between January 2020 and February 2022, the GPCB was in the crosshairs of the Supreme Court, Gujarat High Court and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on various matters like pollution in Sabarmati river, an explosion in a textile godown in Ahmedabad which killed 12 people, and the Dahej pesticide factory explosion that killed five people,” said a senior GPCB official.

UPSC Key – May 26, 2022: Why and What to know about Hawala Transaction to National Achievement Survey (NAS) for UPSC CSE – The Indian Express

FRONT PAGE

NIA court gives life term to Yasin Malik: his crimes meant to strike idea of India

Syllabus:

Best of Express Premium

Premium
Welcome to the elusive world of crypto mining: Rohtak rig, 3 engineers, R...Premium
Explained: Sugar export curbs and their impactPremium
UPSC CSE Key – May 25, 2022: Know the Relevance of QUAD 2022 to Pangong T...Premium

Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

Key Points to Ponder:

• Who is Yasin Malik?

• What was the case against Yasin Malik?

• What were the charges of terrorist funding against Malik?

• What Is Hawala?

• How Hawala Transaction works?

• There are certain advantages of Hawala Transaction but it has gained more notoriety than fame, why?

• What makes Hawala illegal?

• How Hawala transaction is regulated in India and What Is the Punishment for Hawala in India?

• How Hawala Transactions are used for terror funding?

• What is Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍 Hawala

📍 Explained: The terror-funding case in which JKLF’s Yasin Malik has been convicted

Across class, subject, Covid hits school scores

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Key Points to Ponder:

• National Achievement Survey (NAS) is a nationally representative large-scale survey of students’ learning undertaken by which ministry?

• Why is National Achievement Survey (NAS) conducted?

• Which organisation under Ministry of Education, Government of India conducts this Survey?

• National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021-Know the key outcome of this survey

• What does the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021 say about the impact of the COVID pandemic on education?

• What do you understand by Digital-Divide?

• What was the Challenges faced due to the digital divide among teachers across the country?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍 The post-pandemic crisis in schooling and higher education portends a grim future for India’s students, especially the poor

THE CITY

DTC officers to take weekly bus trips to get more people on board

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What is the Status of Urban Transport in India?

• Which are the major modes of Public Urban Transport in India?

• India’s transport sector is large and diverse, how much this sector contributes to the nation’s GDP?

• What are the issues and challenges faced by Urban Transport in India?

• What are the Government of India’s Initiatives to address Urban Transport issues?

• What are the Various state government’s Initiatives to address Urban Transport issues?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍 India Transportation

More than firecrackers, biomass burning made air poor after Diwali: IIT-Delhi study

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change

Main Examination: General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Key Points to Ponder:

• A study led by researchers from IIT-Delhi titled ‘Chemical Speciation and Source Apportionment of Ambient PM2.5 in New Delhi Before, During, and After the Diwali Fireworks’-Know the key Highlights of this report

• What are the other reasons for Air pollution in Delhi?

• Why Delhi pollution is always in News?

• Stubble Burning, Happy Seeder and Diwali Crackers-connect the dots

• Know the Geographical location of Delhi

• Being landlocked makes Delhi’s air pollution worse-How far you agree with this?

• Know the Supreme Courts Judgments on Delhi Air Pollutions

• Know the National Green Tribunal and Various Decisions given by NGT like modification in National Clean Air Programme

• Air Quality Management in NCR Region-Role and Steps Taken so Far

• What is Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)?

• What are the Steps taken By Central and Delhi Government to Curb Pollution like Car Rationing (Odd-Even Policy)

• Know the best International Practices to Curb Air Pollution in Urban Areas

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍 Hardlook: Delhi holds its breath

📍 Explained: Why does air pollution rise in October every year?

THE EDITORIAL PAGE

Reform by persuasion

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development and Indian Polity and Governance

Mains Examination:

• General Studies II: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein

• General Studies III: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

Key Points to Ponder:

• The Supreme Court’s recent decision on the recommendations of the GST Council are not binding will have significant implications in determining the nature of GST, How?

• What is the Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

• The Kelkar Task Force on the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003 and the Genesis of Goods and Services Tax (GST)

• Goods and Services Tax (GST) and 101st Amendment Act, 2016-Know in detail

• What are the different types of Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

• Know the differences between Central GST (CGST), State GST (SGST), Union territory GST (UTGST) and Integrated GST (IGST)

• How would a particular transaction of goods and services be taxed simultaneously under Central GST (CGST) and State GST (SGST)?

• What are the benefits of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India?

• Goods and Services Tax (GST)-Issues and Challenges

• GST Council and Article 279A of the Constitution-Key Provisions

• GST Council and Members-Know in detail

• What is the role of GST Council?

• What is the nature of Federalism in India?

• Important features of Indian federalism-Know in detail

• The Constitution of India provides for a federal system of government, But the term ‘federation’ has nowhere been used in the Constitution-True or False?

• What Supreme Court of India said on Federalism in India in Union of India and Anr versus M/s Mohit Minerals Through Director case?

• What observations did the Supreme Court made on the GST Council and on country’s federal structure? (Hint: Recommendations of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council cannot be binding on the Centre and states and many more)

• “The relationship between two constituent units that are not autonomous but rely on each other for their functioning is not in practice always collaborative or cooperative”-Decode the quote

• Decode the quote- “Democracy and federalism are interdependent on each other for their survival such that federalism would only be stable in well-functioning democracies”.

• Competitive Federalism Cooperative Federalism and Fiscal Federalism are very much in news. What do you understand by these terms in Indian Scenario?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍 Explained: The SC ruling that GST Council decisions are not binding on Centre or states

📍 The Paradox of ‘Centralised Federalism’: An Analysis of the Challenges to India’s Federal Design

EXPLAINED

Sugar export curbs, impact

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Key Points to Ponder:

• Why the Government of India decided to “restrict” the export of sugar, effective from June 1?

• What are the latest curbs?

• How much did India export Sugar during the last few seasons?

• Why the curbs, now?

• What can be the sugar output this season?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍 Government must resist demands for banning exports. Real problem that requires addressing is yields

📍 SUGAR LOW

Get an e-paper subscription via our special offer – click here
For any queries and feedback, contact priya.shukla@indianexpress.com
The UPSC KEY Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Updates.

IIT studying Madurai’s dust menace – Times of India

Madurai: For a tier-II city, Madurai doesn’t have any major polluting industry spewing toxic gases into the air. But the city has the unique problem of fine dust causing air pollution. Madurai city corporation has now decided to find scientific solutions for this menace and roped in Indian Institute of Technology – Madras for the purpose.
The IIT team has set up respirable dust sampler machines at six spots in the city, namely Periyar bus stand, Thiruparankundram police station, Goripalayam, Ismailpuram, Mattuthavani bus terminal and Arapalayam for this purpose. The team has already completed a winter study and the summer study is underway. Corporation officials said that based on the outcome of the study, air pollution mitigation measures would be drawn for the city.
Besides adding to air pollution, the fine dust accumulating on roadsides is a manoeuvring hazard for vehicles. Twowheeler riders, especially motor cyclists, are in perpetual danger, say residents. “While riding, you are forced to take the middle of the road because the road edges are unpredictable and accident-prone,” says V P Manikandan from SS Colony. Some of the notorious roads for fine dust are Bypass Road, Kalavasal, Theni Road, Ellis Nagar road, he said.
Construction works and vehicular movement are major reasons for dust accumulation, said corporation commissioner Dr K P Karthikeyan. The city corporation has started end-to-end road paving to prevent dust getting into the road from road shoulders. The construction sites have been asked to provide cover to the structure so that dust doesn’t escape during construction. “We are hopeful that the IIT-M study would throw more light into this dust problem of Madurai. It would help us chalk out more mitigation plans,” he said.
The city corporation has two heavy-duty road sweeping trucks but they face manoeuvrability problem. They can’t be used on narrower stretches from where the dust starts getting into the main roads. The civic body has decided to procure three to four smaller sweeping machines. The central government has sanctioned 23 crore under National Clean Air Programme.

Let Commercial Vehicles Take The Lead In Going Electric | Mint – Mint

India’s air quality has been diminishing on the back of urban development and higher e-commerce adoption, among other factors. The cost of this progress, as with many countries, has taken its toll. Unfortunately, some of our large Indian cities figure among the world’s most polluted. Citizens’ right to clean breathable air is a fundamental need and is a critical parameter in global benchmarks used to list the world’s happiest and most liveable cities. Thankfully, India has set promising targets and taken several steps to bring about both accountability and action. For example, the government aims to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030.

In 2019, it launched the National Clean Air Programme as a strategic intervention to reduce air pollution levels across the country. City-specific clean air action plans have been prepared and rolled out for implementation in as many as 132 cities. Meanwhile, the NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute’s Shoonya campaign is building awareness around fleet adoption of electric vehicles (EV) for last-mile deliveries. Urban freight vehicles account for over 10% of transportation-related CO2 emissions in India, a number that is set to increase by about 115% by 2030 due the sharp rise in e-commerce demand for deliveries, according to the NITI Aayog. At least 30 of India’s top EV and delivery aggregator service providers have pledged their support, according to news reports.

Meanwhile, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are upgrading their public transport facilities, albeit they are still using internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. A shift from ICE vehicles to EVs is crucial to reversing the impact on air quality. China reduced air pollution in its major cities of Shanghai and Beijing by limiting ICE vehicles, relocating polluting units and using EV incentives, among other steps. A glance at ecology-conscious markets like Norway and Iceland offers a clear picture of how rapid EV adoption can meaningfully reduce pollution levels.

ICE commercial vehicles are large users of diesel in India, which is our most heavily used fuel. To be sure, 16 Indian states have proposed independent EV policy frameworks, but these do not include light commercial vehicles (LCVs). The inclusion of policy incentives for logistical service providers to shift to electric LCVs can propel the use of cleaner alternatives and improve urban air quality. Other ideas include incentives to EV original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and green taxes levied on ICE vehicles based on emissions and time spent in urban areas that could deter ICE vehicle usage. An effective policy framework for charging infrastructure would help too. As of now, no distinction is made between slow, medium and fast charging set-ups, and our recent battery swapping policy applies more to the 2W and 3W segments than their 4W counterparts. A push for a reliable pan-India fast-charging network will be an essential driver of EV adoption across vehicle categories.

Apart from the development of charging station networks, lowering the cost of ownership and bringing in more fleet financing options will support the EV adoption rate for commercial transport. The total cost of ownership (TCO) for EVs, a key determinant, needs parity with ICE vehicles. While the cost of battery replacement is expected to decline by 40-45% over the next decade, accelerating this reduction would depend on India’s self-reliance in the fields of battery raw materials and manufacturing. An upfront subsidy for fleet owners to purchase commercial EVs could be instituted. Recently, the NITI Aayog recommended the inclusion of EV and EV-charging in the Reserve Bank of India’s framework for priority sector lending. This would help finance EV fleet conversion, as 60-70% of vehicles are financed with little or no difference in interest rates.

India’s fleet vehicle financing penetration is relatively robust, with nearly all commercial vehicles bought on loans. Hence, finance availability and vehicle resale value buoyancy will be important for mass fleet electrification. Loans for EVs could be made more efficient. While banks typically offer a 25-50-basis-points benefit on ESG (environmental, social and governance) assets, lending institutions currently take a hit on their bottom line in providing ESG finance.

Going clean and green is the need of the hour. A healthy ecosystem will generate higher economic returns from all the activities it supports. India has the potential to leap into a global leadership position on the commercial EV front. It is among a handful of countries supporting the global ‘EV30@30’ campaign that aims for 30% of all new vehicle sales by 2030 to be electric. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged “Sabka prayaas” (everyone’s effort). In this spirit, the participation of relevant industries, local governments and communities in an EV-conversion drive could get India closer to that goal.

Incentivizing innovation among new-age electric OEMs and helping build a talent pool that will fuel this growth story are equally important. The future of urban logistics is better served by clean and sustainable energy, electricity being the front-runner among alternate energy options. Our cities deserve better logistics for the sake of today’s population as well as future generations. We have made seismic technology shifts with smartphone proliferation, connectivity and UPI payments, opening generation-defining opportunities. Commercial EVs can give us another big leap to a better future.

Rahul Saraf, MD, head of India investment banking, Citi, contributed to this column.

Inderveer Singh & Jason Wortendyke are, respectively, founder and CEO, EVage; and managing director, global co-head, diversified industrials, Citi

Subscribe to Mint Newsletters

* Enter a valid email

* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Public Health Issue of Indoor Dilution Ventilation for Disease Prevention Versus PM2.5 in Intake Air in Auditoriums of Premier Engineering Institutes in India – Cureus

Background: Dilution ventilation by enhancing fresh air intake has been prescribed to reduce airborne infection spread during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is all the more important in assembly spaces like auditoriums. Premier technology institutes have large campuses with large auditoriums for academic and cultural events in India. These institutes serve as role models for society, where gatherings are essential, but there is also the possibility of transmission of all airborne respiratory infections, including tuberculosis, into the community. The fresh air taken in should also be filtered for pollution to prevent other lung issues.

Aims: Fresh air intake and filtration have been studied in order to understand whether the outside air supplied indoors is filtered for PM2.5, which is a major ambient polluter in India.

Settings and design/methods: In this study, the Right to Information Act of 2005 has been used to obtain first-hand information from the institutes with respect to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in their auditoriums. Twelve of the 19 institutes fall in cities with non-attainment of ambient air quality standards.

Results: Eleven out of all those had recently integrated fresh air supply, and six replied in the negative. Only one out of all of them had appropriate filters.

Conclusion: This study highlights the need for a possible trade-off between the use of air conditioners for thermal comfort + assumed protection against PM2.5, which is the switching off of air conditioners and manually opening up windows and using fans for ventilation. Indian HVAC design for gathering spaces, especially educational institutes, needs to factor in fresh air for dilution ventilation as well as PM2.5 filtration.

Introduction

It has been established that dilution ventilation plays a role in diluting the concentration of aerosolised droplets containing possible pathogens. Spaces where there is an ample supply of outdoor air to replace the inside air with a certain rapidity have a lower risk of airborne infection spread. The most common method of dilution ventilation is the opening of doors and windows, wherever this option is available [1-4]. This has certain downsides, like noise from outdoors, entry of insects if done without wire mesh, and a lack of comfort from air conditioning. But the major concern that is identified with the opening of doors and windows is the entry of outside dust and pollution into the interiors in urban areas. This is especially true for urban areas where the ambient air quality is poor or severe. In major Indian cities like Delhi, the major cause of poor ambient air quality is the presence of particulate matter PM2.5 [5]. The 2.5 comes from the size of the dust particles, which is below 2.5 µm. Another way of providing dilution ventilation in the space is by having fresh air in appropriate quantities mixed with the return air in an air handling unit of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system of the building space. This dilution ventilation is not possible in rooms with split air-conditioner systems without the opening up of windows or without placing a treated fresh air (TFA) unit if the split air-conditioner is ducted [6,7].

Using an air conditioning system without the provision of appropriate fresh air intake and constant air replacement will increase the risk of infection transmission in the indoor space [6,8]. This choice of increasing the risk of airborne infection is sometimes made with the assumption that the air conditioning system will at least filter the particulate matter present in the ambient air. This assumption is based on the guess that the air conditioner will have the capability of filtering pollution particles that are 2.5 in size (in the form of PM2.5). A trade-off needs to be made between the use of an air conditioner for comfort and the assumed protection against PM2.5, and the switching off of air conditioners and manually opening up windows and using fans for ventilation. The worst situation is when the air conditioner neither provides appropriate fresh air for dilution ventilation (and airborne disease reduction) nor filters the harmful PM2.5 particles, which are harmful to human lungs.

In this study, we compiled the information on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems of India’s premier engineering institutes, which set the benchmark for state-of-the-art research in India. The study showed that even though many of the systems complied with providing fresh air (though not always quantified), most had filters that could not filter the particulate matter PM2.5. The study may be a benchmark for the situation of air conditioning systems in other buildings. In India, neither are airborne infections new, as we have yearly cases of tuberculosis, nor is the harmful effect of PM 2.5 unknown [9]. In such a scenario, our air conditioning systems should incorporate appropriate fresh air changes and appropriate microfilters for healthy indoor air quality.

Literature background

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, major HVAC institutions such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) from the United States, the federation of European Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Associations (REHVA) from the European Union, the Society of Heating, Ventilation, and Sanitary Engineering from Japan, major institutional bodies from China, the Indian Society of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Engineers and the Central Public Works Department of India have all released documents for the operation of air conditioners in buildings. They all agreed that intake of outdoor air with appropriate patterns of airflow is one of the most important strategies to prevent or reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus [3,10-15]. This intervention has been advocated by practitioners of tuberculosis prevention and control [2-4,16-19]. But it is also true that the outdoor air in cities with high PM2.5 pollution enters the indoors and causes lung issues for inhabitants [20-22]. This is all the more severe in Indian cities, which have high urban outdoor pollution, especially suspended particulate matter [5,23]. In some cases of enclosed spaces, the indoor concentration of PM2.5 was much greater than that of the outdoor air [24,25]. HVAC systems must not be designed with only one parameter in isolation. The airborne infection control measure of using dilution ventilation must take care of the PM2.5 pollution as well as dilution ventilation for airborne infection control. The filtration must have a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) capacity of ≥10 as it will provide a lower concentration of PM2.5 indoors [26]. Other factors like energy consumption must also be taken into consideration [21]. An integrated approach is required at the design stage [12,27-29]. The author has conducted another study along the same lines with other important Indian buildings [30]. This study has also been done for Indian airport buildings [31].

Question: Do the air conditioning systems of auditoriums of premier engineering institutes have appropriate provisions for dilution ventilation and appropriate filtration capability to filter out particulate matter PM2.5?

Need for the study

Large assemblies in educational institutes or elsewhere happen in auditoriums. These assembly spaces are very frequently air-conditioned. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw recommendations for increasing the fresh air intake into enclosed spaces by opening the windows or by fresh air intake through the air handling unit of the HVAC system. These HVAC systems must be equipped to enable fresh air intake as this dilutes the concentration of aerosolised pathogens and decreases the risk of airborne infection spread. But in-letting of outside air has also raised concerns about in-letting pollution, especially in India and China due to particulate matter, especially PM2.5. This study focused on premier engineering institutes, which are at the zenith of research and serve as role models for society. There is a specific focus to understand whether the filtration systems are equipped to filter the PM2.5 when we want to increase the fresh air intake for the reason of airborne infection prevention.

Practical implications of the study

This study highlights the Indian reality where HVAC design needs fresh air intake as well as PM2.5 filtration to prevent airborne infections and particulate lung diseases, respectively. This study also uses a unique data collection method where the Right to Information Act of 2005 has been used to get authentic information from the first-hand managers of the space.

Materials & Methods

The stepwise methodology used in this study has been presented in Table 1

S. No. Step
1 Preparation of a focused set of questions for procuring related data.
2 Obtaining information using the Right to Information Act, 2005.
3 Compiling information and standardising it for comparison.
4 Discussion of results and reporting information.
5 Recommendations.

Selecting premier engineering educational institutes

In this study, two important sets of premier institutes imparting engineering education were selected. This includes the Indian Institutes of Technology and the National Institutes of Technology. There are 23 Indian Institutes of Technology and 29 National Institutes of Technology [32,33]. This makes a total of 52 premier, top-run engineering institutes in India. In late 2020, before the second wave in many parts of India, the government had started opening up premier institutes for certain sections of students and most of the faculty members. There were cases in major premier institutes of rising cases, and some of them became hotspots. These premier institutes are directly managed by the Central Government and are well funded. They also hold a major chunk of research in India. These institutes are also spread evenly across the whole country. All of the institutes have all the facilities for students, including assembly spaces for the large events that happen in these institutes. These are also the most well-built, and most are assisted by the faculty of the institute itself. All of these have auditoriums with a very large capacity for important fests, convocations, annual days, etc., which are important events for a college. Being educational institutes, they would also respond well to research-based studies.

Information was derived from the public information officers of the educational institutes. The information was sought under the Right to Information Act, 2005. This enables information that is in the public domain. The information was asked in the format mentioned in Table 2.

S. No. The Information Sought under the Right to Information Act, 2005 under the Public Domain.
1 Provide the details of the Air Changes per Hour inside the various spaces within the auditorium. (Air changes per hour is a unit to measure the amount of fresh air that will be supplied to the auditorium for dilution ventilation inside the built space.)
2 Provide the details of the HVAC that has been put in the auditorium along with its ventilation details, i.e., the technical specifications for the provision of fresh air and the exhaust of the interior air into and from the inside spaces, respectively.
3 Is there a provision of UVGI treatment of the air which is to be supplied to the inside of the auditorium.
4 Please specify the details of the filters (HEPA or others) that will be provided in the HVAC system of the auditorium. Also mention the least count of the filters which will tell us the minimum size of particles (dust or microbes) it can filter.
5 What additional measures have been integrated in the design of the building to prevent the spread of airborne disease like COVID-19, Tuberculosis, Measles, SARS etc.?
6 Is there any interaction of real-time monitoring with meters/sensors of the levels of carbon dioxide in the ventilation/HVAC system of the auditorium?
7 What is the capacity of the auditorium in the peak time?

The information presented in Table 2 was requested in the form of an Application of Information under Section 6 of the Right to Information Act, 2005, which empowers any citizen to obtain any government record in the country held by public authorities [34]. This is a boon for researchers as they may have to face bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining information. This study uses this tool to derive information from the premier government-run institutes, and the data have been satisfactorily provided. The above-mentioned information requests were drafted into applications which were sent in the format of applications according to the Right to Information Act, 2005 [34,35]. The rationale, or the intent of the information requested, has been provided in Table 3.

S. No. Intent
1 Fresh air intake through the HVAC system. This is because fresh air intake aids dilution ventilation, which is key in the lowering of concentration of aerosolised pathogens.
2 The presence of UVGI system in the HVAC. This is of key importance as UVGI systems neutralise the pathogens that may be aerosolised in the space, or the one which passes through the ventilation mechanism [36].
3 The filtration and its details in the HVAC system. The filtration serves a double purpose. One is a possible filtration of the pathogens or their aerosols and the filtrations of other pollutants like dust and suspended particulate matter.
4 Real-time monitoring of the mechanism of ventilation. This is key as it will automate the process and the air intake can be increased based on the bio response from the number of people in the space who would exhale carbon dioxide and a certain increase would possibly trigger a response for more inflow of outside air. In this case, the carbon dioxide serves as a biomarker or a surrogate for the outside air ventilation into the enclosed space [27].

The replies to the applications were received by the author over a period of time. Some applications had to be followed up on, and appeals on some others had to be filed. The resultant was a reply from 19 premier institutes that gave an authorised reply to the questions, which has been the basis of this study. The various institutes and their in-house engineering and estate management teams responded to the applications as per their understanding. There were also variations in the units of measurement in the replies. Diversity was also present in the way in which the reply was made. This study took the applications and standardised them in common units and common points were made in order to compare and compile the data easily.

Sample size justification of the study

The total number of top-run, premier, and public-funded engineering institutes in India is 52. This includes 23 Indian Institutes of Technology and 29 National Institutes of Technology. The number of institutes under the study is 19. This means that, using the Survey Monkey sample size calculator, the confidence level is 90% with a margin of error of 15.5%. The margin of error may be more as there may be issues with the reporting of the information and/or any errors. The period of the data collection for the study was late 2020 to early 2021. The systems in the auditoriums of these auditoriums may have been changed after that period. The changes have not been included in this study.

Exemption from ethics review committee

The paper has no human participants or living human or animal tissue. All the information is available in the public domain. This is because the Right to Information Act of 2005 enables the provision of information in the public domain. The information under the Act is also free from any third party’s personal information as an essential component of the act. This means that the paper is exempt from the Ethics Review or Institutional Review Board in line with the Indian Council of Medical Research: National Guidelines for Biomedical and Health Research Involving Human Participants [37]. The author declares the same.

Results

The data received from the 19 premier engineering institutes have been compiled and presented in Appendices Table 6.

On compilation and comparison, it was found that: first, 12 out of the 19 responding institutes were on the list of ‘Non-Attainment of Air Quality Standards’ [38] released under the National Clean Air Program [5]. The list was prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board. The presence in the list means that the city of the institute has air quality below the standard and there are a higher number of days when the particulate matter, especially PM2.5 would be above the permissible limits. Second, out of the 19 institutes that responded about their auditoriums, six replied to having air changes per hour as per the National Building Code of India 2016, which stipulates air changes per hour to be 4-8 in assembly spaces [27]. Five of these institutes responded with values that were below the NBC stipulated value. Six did not provide a reply or the reply was unclear, and two of the institutes did not have air conditioning or any form of HVAC system except basic fans and windows (and exhaust fans). Third, out of the 19 responding institutes, 11 stated that they have had or have recently increased or provided fresh air intake into the HVAC system in the auditorium space in their institute. Six responded in the negative about the fresh air intake into the auditorium space. The remaining two were not applicable as they had naturally ventilated auditorium spaces, with room fans, windows, etc. Fourth, on the issue of carbon dioxide monitoring, out of the 19 institutes which responded about their auditoriums, two had carbon dioxide monitoring integrated into their HVAC system, which also created a feedback mechanism for the air supply into the AHUs. Fifteen institutes responded in the negative, and two provided unclear answers. Fifth, on the question of the provision of UVGI in the auditorium space or integrated within the HVAC system, only one auditorium responded positively. Sixth, no college out of the 17 eligible institutes had HEPA filters in the HVAC systems of their auditoriums. Two institutes out of the 19 were naturally ventilated.

The filtration system in the HVAC systems of the auditoriums had different grades of filters. The filter system of the HVAC for the auditoriums in the various institutes is given in Table 4.

S. No. No of auditoriums Filter grade
1 1 MERV 13 (fine dust filters having certain higher efficiency in filtering particles from 0.4 microns to 10 microns) [39]
2 12 MERV 6-8 (or simply thick dust filters having very low efficiency in filtering fine dust particles in the aerodynamic diameter from 04 microns to 10 microns)
3 2 MERV 5-6 (lower efficiency as compared to MERV 8)
4 2 Original equipment manufacturers built in filters. Their results are not widely tested and published. These are generally placed on the split, cassette, and other standalone air conditioners.
5 2 N.A. No filters as the auditoriums had no HVAC system.

The least count of the filter as defined by the in-house engineering teams of the various institutes in which the auditoriums are located and whose HVAC systems are being studied is given in Table 5.

S. No. No. of auditoriums Least count of filter in microns
1 5 10 micron
2 1 3 micron
3 1 5 micron
4 2 Not applicable as there was no HVAC in these auditoriums.
5 9 Data not provided/not clear
6 1 2.5 micron in the form of original equipment manufacturer supplied internal filter.

Discussion

First of all, it is important to understand that most institutes made extra arrangements in response to the pandemic COVID-19 and that the increase in air changes was a quick-fix response to the pandemic. This is positive as it exhibits an eager response, but it is negative as it ignores the presence of existing airborne threats that have been in India for a long time. This includes tuberculosis, which has been an active killer in India [4,9,40]. Having appropriate measures in enclosed spaces in India should have been a standard procedure as the disease is in the community in India.

The second point of discussion is the basis of the study in this paper, which explores the idea of insufficient filtration of particulate matter, especially PM2.5, by air conditioning systems, making these air-conditioned spaces neither fully safe from pollution nor against the aerosolized suspended pathogens. This is of major concern as the opening of windows, though necessary for dilution ventilation, is discouraged in certain cities as there is a perceived, and maybe an actual, concern about particulate matter that may enter the buildings. A common response to this is to switch on the air conditioner and seal the windows of the room. This is of concern as this may lead to lower fresh air changes inside of the room and therefore an increased risk of airborne disease spread. There is a certain population that may switch on portable air filters, but this has been discouraged by the World Health Organisation [41]. Another important point is how India is uniquely placed in this situation and has 132 cities with non-attainment of the prescribed ambient air quality measures, with particulate matter being the biggest threat [38]. The criteria for inclusion in the non-attainment list of studies included five-year monitoring for ambient air, where if there is an excess of suspended particulate matter (or nitrogen dioxide) as per the National Ambient Air Quality Standards [31,42,43]. Of our list of 19 auditoriums, 12 were located in cities that were part of the non-attainment list. Any design of HVAC for assembly spaces in India should definitely factor in the need for filtration of particulate matter, which may not be the case for standard designs in some countries with cleaner air. Academic institutions have huge populations of students who gather in their auditoriums. Auditoriums in general are supposed to be the model for sound ventilation. This is because there is always a specialised design for these and they can become epicentres for large-scale airborne disease spread events. Having appropriate ventilation and good indoor air quality is a public health issue and not just an engineering problem [28]. This is a right that has been included in the right to a healthy environment and forms part of the Right to Life [44], a fundamental right guaranteed by the Indian Constitution [45]. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need for stricter action against the indoor air crisis that we are facing [46].

Conclusions

Eleven out of all the institutes whose auditorium air conditioning was studied had recently integrated fresh air supply and six replied in the negative. Only one out of all had the appropriate filter required to supply filtered fresh air for proper dilution ventilation, leading to possible airborne infection control. This one was in a city not meeting the non-attainment criteria for outdoor pollution. Most others who lived in cities with ambient pollution, especially particulate matter, did not have filters to filter out the particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns. It is therefore highly recommended that for large assembly buildings there should be appropriate measures that not only let in fresh air but also filter the outside air appropriately in order to exclude particulate matter. These buildings, especially when located in premier institutes, should serve as model buildings for other assembly spaces to follow. This may be achieved by the inclusion of HEPA filters or filters with MERV ≥10 and above, along with a generous supply of outside fresh air. This may increase the energy cost as the outside air has to be constantly conditioned and there is a reduction in recirculated air. This step may also automatically stop the usage of recirculated air retaining mechanisms in the HVAC systems of the buildings. An increased energy cost in return for the safety and well-being that users of the space will get is their right. There should be proper preventive maintenance, a record of fresh air provisions, and their attainment should be set on record so that continuous compliance is assured. Committees for enforceable standards must be constituted. Every building must display to the users, prominently, the current status of breathable air, its quality, and the mechanisms to ensure their well-being in the space.

Open House: What should be done to check pollution in Ludhiana? – The Tribune India

Use latest tech to tackle pollution

Protection of environment in essential, but pollution is on the rise in Ludhiana and the authorities concerned have failed to take counter measures. There’s no provision of automated cleaning and sprinkling system to control air pollution in Ludhiana, which has massive industry and motor vehicles. The administration must act against the violators who fail to follow the National Green Tribunal’s and the Punjab Pollution Control Board’s norms. The authorities must rope in the latest technology to combat rising pollution in the city and its periphery.

Novin Christopher


Have clear vision for Green environment

Dubious distinction of being the most polluted city in the state is quite worrisome. All the stakeholders know who are the real culprits. The authorities, which need to act responsibly and find a way out, are in deep slumber. The government is not taking notice of public grievances. Officials concerned who have the responsibility to implement the policies related to tackle pollution should be held accountable in case the things are not happening as per the strategy. The general public, too, should be held responsible. The resident should be self- motivated and have a vision for clean and green environment, which is essential for better health of the masses.

Sukhdev Sharma


Urgent Need to take concrete steps

The level of air quality in Ludhiana is going down day by day. We cannot blame a single factor for it. There has been a manifold increase in number of vehicles registered in the city. An effective public transport system is the need of the hour, which will not only decrease pressure of vehicles on the roads, but also help in reducing pollution. Though majority of industrial units have been shifted outside the city, still many small firms are operating illegally from residential areas. Even air-conditioners and refrigerators emit chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which are very dangerous for Ozone layer. It is high time that something concrete should be done to curb air pollution, else the day is not far, when we all may have to carry oxygen containers to breathe fresh air.

Bir Devinder Singh Bedi


Stringent monitoring system a must

The rapid industrialisation, urbanisation and vehicular traffic in Ludhiana has adversely affected air-pollution level of the city. Despite being most polluted city in the state, no concrete steps have been taken by the authorities concerned to reduce pollution. The municipal corporation made big announcements around a year ago related to purchase of mechanical sweeping machines, sprinklers and anti-smog guns to control air pollution, but no progress has been made in this direction. The method of spraying water into the air through sprinklers installed atop towers and high- rise buildings can tackle pollution to some level. Anti-smog guns should be used to spray atomised water to settle dust and other suspended particles in the atmosphere. The funds allocated to the MC by the central government under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) should be fully utilised to purchase such machines and expediting civil works, including up keep of green belts. The polluting industries should be shifted from residential areas. There’s a need to have more sewage treatment plants (STPs) and heavy penalty should be imposed on industries discharging wastes into Buddha Nullah. The Punjab Pollution Control Board should have a strict monitoring system.

RS Sembhi


Sweep roads with automated machines

To overcome the issue of pollution, the state government must come up with a proper road and the authorities need to implement it in true letter and spirit. Saplings should be planted on both sides of the roads at adequate distance. The municipal corporation should instal interlocking tiles and proper cleaning of the roads should be carried out during night. Stubble burning should be banned and farmers should be given compensation. The onus to curb pollution lies on the masses as well who need to cooperate with local authorities.

Mohd Saleem Farooqui


Record pollution on real-time basis

The Air Quality Index of Ludhiana is deteriorating with each passing day. The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation must assign duties to each councillor to ensure that carpeting of roads is done on time and green cover is maintained on the roadsides. Nobody should be allowed to burn garbage in the open, which is a common sight throughout the city. Every residential area should have a park and sweeping should be undertaken during the night hours by automated machines. Water should be sprinkled at regular intervals wherever higher level of pollution is recorded on real-time basis. Locals should cooperate with civic body to implement policies which will help in lowering pollution.

Farzana Khan


It’s time to recycle daily use products

The authorities concerned should be held responsible for health hazards being faced by residents. Pollution can be tackled if the administration and the masses act responsibly. Polythene bags should be banned as they are non-biodegradable. Likewise, residents should use biodegradable bags made of jute or paper. Recycled materials should be preferred in day-to-day life. Everyone should follow the principle of “recycle, reuse and reduce. The residents should unite to fight against the pollution by adopting eco-friendly products. The authorities should act to ensure that banned products do not reach the market at any cost.

Adish Sood


Frame stringent laws to punish violators

Pollution is increasing at an alarming rate in Ludhiana city on daily basis. Various methods can be adopted to curb this menace, but unfortunately, the authorities have failed to do so. They collect huge funds from the general public in the form of taxes, but don’t spend that money for the benefit of their health. Failure to comply with the rules is a punishable offence and official concerned should also be punished if they are not discharging their responsibilities. The government must make use of reserve funds to tackle pollution. Stringent laws should be framed for industrial units as they emit a lot of pollution and discharge the effluents directly into the water bodies, which leads to water pollution and become a root cause of other problems .

Ritu Priya


Impose penalty on errant industrialists

Health problems related to pollution have become a cause for concern in Ludhiana. The Punjab Pollution Control Board has failed to act against the “erring” industrial units. Sewage and effluents are discharged directly into Buddha Nullah, which has become a breeding ground for vector-borne diseases. The authorities should act to combat pollution on a war-footing by using modern technology.

Dr Sunil Chopra


Streamline public transport facilities

Ludhiana continues to be the most polluted city in the state. After harvesting of wheat and paddy, farmers burn stubble, which increases pollution manifold. The government should come up with some incentives for those farmers who do not burn crop residue. This single step will help in controlling pollution to great extent. Public transport facilities should be streamlined and officials must ensure that the masses use them on regular basis while going to work. For this the administration has to come up with revised route plans so that passengers can board buses at short intervals. The state government should consider plying electric buses in big cities and for this they should start working on building up charging infrastructure right from this moment onwards. All these steps can help in tackling pollution.

Gautam Dev


Instal anti-smog guns throughout city

Despite being highly polluted, Ludhiana civic body and the residents hardly care to address the issue. Use of modern devices can help ease the situation to an extent, but will of the authorities concerned and the masses matters alot. Anti-smog guns can combat air pollution by spraying atomised water to settle dust and other suspended particles. Stubble can be used as a fuel in industrial units, besides discharge of effluents into water bodies, causes serious health hazards. The Punjab Pollution Control Board needs to pull up its socks as well. Installation of sewage treatment plants should be a norm rather than exception. Despite, Buddha Nullah always giving an open invitation to diseases, civic body is nowhere to be seen.

Ram Paul Chani


Authorities, locals should work together

Pollution can take away lives. Those born around eight decades ago hardly heard about this phrase. It is a matter of grave concern that Smart City Ludhiana has the worst Air-Quality Index in the entire state. Sincere efforts should be made to address the issue, else health not just of senior citizens, but of infants may be in danger. Locals should also step in and play their part as everything cannot be left on the authorities concerned. Massive penalties should be imposed on those industries which violate pollution norms.

JBS Nanda


QUESTION

Call it an irony or indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned and successive governments, fire services in the industrial capital of Punjab lack manpower and machines. There is no hydraulic ladder to douse flames in high-rise buildings, despite numerous such incidents having been reported in the past. What should be done to awaken those responsible from their deep slumber to provide such amenities on a priority basis?

Suggestions in not more than 70 words can be sent to ludhiana.feedback@gmail.com

Bhupender Yadav lauds Tamil Nadu for air quality standards – The Hindu

He also praises T.N. Pollution Control Board for e-commute

He also praises T.N. Pollution Control Board for e-commute

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav lauded Tamil Nadu for keeping the air quality in the 3-million-plus cities of Chennai, Madurai and Tiruchi within the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

On Saturday, he inaugurated the two-day sensitisation-cum- review workshop–National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) and XV-FC Million Plus Cities Challenge Fund for the southern region. The region comprises Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

The workshop held in Chennai is organised by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Mr. Yadav also praised the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for the initiative of e-commute, under which all the officials of the Board commute to office every Wednesday through non-fossil fuel-driven vehicles. He pointed out that India leapfrogged to the BS-VI standards and the adoption of the norms for fuel and vehicles was one of the landmark policy decisions towards combating air pollution.

“Under NCAP, 132 non-attainment cities have been identified across the country, based on the air quality data from 2014 to 2018. The list is a heterogeneous mix of cities of all sizes and types and in southern India, we have 13 such cities from Andhra Pradesh and 4 each from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana,” Mr. Yadav said.

“It’s time to make ‘Clean Air For All’ a participative mission,” he said, stressing that participative governance held the key.

Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey; Tamil Nadu Minister for Environment Siva. V. Meyyanathan; Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Leena Nandan; Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forest, Government of Tamil Nadu; and Naresh Pal Gangwar, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, took part at the inaugural ceremony.

Environment Minister Bhupendar Yadav inaugurates workshop in Chennai on National Clean Air Programme for southern region – NewsOnAIR

Union Environment Minister Bhupendar Yadav has asked the public to make the mission of ensuring clean air a public movement. He inaugurated a workshop today in Chennai on the National Clean Air Programme for the southern region.

In his address, the minister said the air quality improvement efforts have shown good results in cities across the country. He added, there is still more to do to ensure clean air, that requires ‘Jan Bhagidari’ or people’s participation.

Mr Bhupendar Yadav said, India’s switchover to the Bharat-Stage-VI standards in vehicle emissions is one of the landmark policy decisions in combating air pollution. He said Chennai, Madurai and Trichy in Tamil Nadu are among the cities with more than three million people where the air quality is within the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Union Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Tamil Nadu Environment Minister Siva. V. Meyyanathan and representatives from the participating states and Union Territories including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Kerala, Pondicherry, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadar and Nagar Haveli took part in the workshop.

India Weather Live: No heatwave in Delhi for a week; heavy rains to continue in Kerala, two dams opened – The Indian Express

In it’s bulletin, IMD said that a wet spell was likely over northwest India from May 20 to 24. (Express/File)

India Weather Live: A heatwave seared Delhi on Friday before thundershowers and gusty winds brought some respite towards the evening. A fresh western disturbance will lead to rain and thunderstorms in northwest India starting Sunday. As a result, the maximum temperature in Delhi will drop to 37 degrees Celsius by Tuesday. Due to this no heatwave is likely for a week. The weather department has predicted the abetment of heatwave across the country from today.

At least 10 districts in Kerala will receive heavy rainfall on Saturday and Sunday with the IMD issuing a Yellow alert, while the Idukki district administration has opened the shutters of Kallarkutty and Pambla dams to release excess water. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued Yellow alert for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts for today whereas Wayanad too has Yellow alert on May 22.

Widespread rainfall with gusty winds are very likely over Western Himalayan Region during the next 5 days, the India Meteorological Department said in its latest bulletin. Hailstorm is predicted over Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh from today. Coastal and southern Karnataka and Kerala are likely to see extremely heavy rainfall on Saturday. Rainfall intensity in these regions is likely to reduce after Sunday.

No heatwave in north for a week; heavy rains in south, north-east. Follow this space for the latest on weather forecasts and more.

Efforts to improve air quality show positive trends: Bhupender Yadav – Devdiscourse

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Saturday said efforts to improve air quality have shown positive trends in cities across the country and participative governance holds the key to achieving what India aspires.

Addressing the ‘Sensitization cum Review Workshop – National Clean Air Programme’ (NCAP) in Chennai, he said it was time to make ‘clean air for all’ a participative mission. NCAP is a national-level strategy for a 20 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.

The programme covers 132 non-attainment cities which do not meet the prescribed national ambient air quality standards.

Yadav said India will comprehensively achieve the objectives of NCAP with the participation, coordination, collaboration, and sustained efforts of all stakeholders.

”The air quality improvement efforts have shown positive trends in cities across the country. But if we wish to achieve what we aspire, ‘Jan Bhagidari’ or participative governance holds the key,” he said.

He praised Tamil Nadu saying the air quality in Chennai, Madurai, and Trichy, all three million-plus cities, is within the national ambient air quality standards.

Yadav also lauded the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for its e-commute programme, under which all the officials of the board use non-fossil fuel-driven vehicles to commute to the office every Wednesday.

The minister appealed to the youth to become active agents in the mission to improve air quality by adopting sustainable lifestyles, appropriate behaviours, and attitudes.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)