SUBJECT :Pollution 

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) — country's main pollution watchdog — has set up a panel to develop easy to understand "standard operating procedures" for evaluation of the impact of polluted air, water and land/soil on human health, flora and fauna in the "severely" polluted areas.

The SOPs will help the state pollution control boards (SPCBs) to have readily available "health impact- related data" at various platforms which can be disseminated along with air, water and soil pollution index for all the industrial clusters.

India has 43 industrial clusters which are classified as "critically polluted areas" and 32 clusters as "severely polluted areas" on the basis of a comprehensive environmental pollution index. But the country does not have simplified and uniform SOPs for evaluation of various health-affecting factors of pollution.

The SOPs will help the state and central pollution watchdogs to come out with complete information in a simple format. The easy to understand data/analysis will, in turn, help the common man to understand the implications of these pollutants easily.

It will not only create awareness but also help planners and policy-makers in taking up various specific anti-pollution measures in polluted areas. The working group has been asked to submit its report by February 13.

The decision to set up the working group was taken after meeting of CPCB's technical review committee that discussed the issues related to the "epidemiological studies for assessment of effect of pollution (air, water and landsoil) on human health in critically and severally polluted areas" on Thursday.

Subsequently, CPCB chairman Susheel Kumar issued an office memorandum on Friday, announcing constitution of the 12-member working group under the chairmanship of the director general of health services Jagdish Prasad.

The working group, comprising health experts from across the country, will take into account various factors that may throw light on level of exposure, number of people potentially affected within 2 km radius from the industrial pollution source, additional risk to sensitive receptors and reliable evidence of adverse impact on eco-geological features.

It will also identify agencies for each state that can collect and collate the data required for undertaking epidemiological studies for assessment of effect of pollutants.

Source: 25 January, 2015, The Economics Times