With an exclusive interview with Confer Global, Santosh Shidhaye, Chief Sustainability Officer, IL&FS Transportation Networks Limited shared his views on the various technologies to combat air pollution and importance of regulations and legislations for the industry.
Q: What are the major factors for the current air quality in the country?
A: Ambient air quality has several factors contributing to its degradation. In urban environment major contribution to air pollution comes from vehicular pollution while in case of rural environment, major contributors are burning of agricultural residues, firewood burning by eateries and for domestic uses. Atmospheric dust is a significant background polluter in many parts of the country
Q: What are the initiatives taken by your organisation to reduce the air pollutants?
A: Infrastructure industry does not have point source of pollution like manufacturing industry. In road sector, we ensure that all our road building sites are watered during the base grades. This is also quality requirement for compaction. We source our concrete and bituminous mix from plants which have air pollution control equipment.
Q: What technologies do you think can help to combat the issues?
A: End of pipe treatment technologies for point sources are proven and available. Technology for monitoring of point sources are also proven and available. Many pollution control boards have made it mandatory to provide real time monitoring data of all significant stacks. Air pollution control therefore is not limited by technology. It is limited by willingness to enforce available legislation
Q: What are the impacts of current air quality on health?
A: I do not need to elaborate on impacts of air pollution. A lot has been talked about it. While impacts of air quality are considered, one has to look at indoor air quality which is not being discussed adequately. In urban environment, modern commercial buildings have issues ranging from adequacy of Oxygen level to the indoor air pollutants created by photocopiers, printers, cables, paints, carpets, and cleaning chemicals
Q: Do we have infrastructure to implement large scale measures?
A: Technology is available, infrastructure for point sources is being installed by the industry. Necessary regulation is in place. Unless air quality does not become people’s movement, enforcement will not become focus. Air quality deterioration impacts every individual but chronic impacts do not wake us up, it needs acute impact for public to wake up. Unfortunately our public protests against increase in pollutant level but is not prepared to pay for cleansing. They want air cleaned but if power plants pass on the cost of air pollution control to the consumer through electricity charges, public at large is not ready to pay. Therefore, huge awareness generation exercise convincing public to demand clean air and pay for it
Q: Are the governments going too slow or too fast with the measures to improve the air quality and environment?
A: Legislative arm of the government has done its part. It is now upto the bureaucracy to uniformly enforce the available laws. This can happen with informed public movement.
Mr. Santosh Shidhaye will speaking at the Pollution Control & Emissions Monitoring World Conference & Exhibition, scheduled to take place on 18 – 19 April 2018 at The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, India where we will be gaining more insights from his expert presentation and panel discussions.
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