Flyover Construction: Boon or Bane? As construction pollutes air, UPPCB imposes fine of ₹1.85 cr on ‘norm-violating’ firms

LUCKNOW The ongoing construction of flyovers in Lucknow has raised concerns about air quality, especially in densely populated residential areas like Indira Nagar. Currently, two flyovers are under construction, one connecting Munshipulia and Khurram Nagar and the other on Amausi Road. Both residential (Indira Nagar) and industrial (Amausi) areas have seen their air quality drop due to construction work.

Indira Nagar continues to be the top air pollution hotspot due to flyover construction followed by Amausi area, says CSIR-IITR report (Deepak Gupta)

The findings are part of the “Local Air Quality Assessment of Lucknow City Post Monsoon Report 2023,” presented by Lucknow’s CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Report (IITR). The report was released as the institution celebrated its 59th foundation day.

The report revealed that the concentration of particulates is very high in Indira Nagar, due to the ongoing construction work of the flyover. This project has resulted in increased traffic, high traffic density on the road due to diversion of traffic on nearby roads, and dust emission from construction related activities.

The second highest proportion of particles was recorded in Amausi, which is caused by the ongoing construction of a road and a flyover near the sampling site, causing traffic jams and detours.

Explaining why the construction of the flyover contributed to the increase in dust levels, the report noted that both areas became more dusty because the roads around them were not completely paved, and the construction dust added to the particulate matter in the surrounding air.

UPCB lays down 2 cr fine on firms; others under observation

The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) has expressed concern over two construction companies working on flyovers between Munshipulia and Khurram Nagar on the Ring Road for not following standard operating procedures (SOPs) for bridge construction. Umesh Chnadra Shukla, UPPCB regional officer in Lucknow, revealed that many notices have been issued to these companies due to their failure to follow the prescribed SOPs. As a result, the penalty of 1 crore was charged to one company, while the other was fined 83 lakhs.

Further, the UPPCB has inspected another site for constructing a flyover near Amausi based on Saturday’s report, and appropriate action will be taken if required.

A dirty nightmare

The IITR report monitored the levels of PM10, PM2.5, heavy metals, and noise pollution in September and October at nine locations in Lucknow. These areas include residential areas such as Aliganj, Vikas Nagar, Indira Nagar, and Gomti Nagar, commercial areas such as Charbagh, Alambagh, Aminabad, and Chowk, and the industrial area of ​​Amausi . In addition to air pollution, the report also assessed day and night noise pollution levels in these areas.

The report indicated that overall air pollution decreased in 2023 compared to the previous year, possibly due to intermittent and widespread rainfall during the study period. In the post-monsoon report, PM10 levels decreased by 20% in residential areas, 51% in commercial areas, but increased by 29% in industrial areas. PM2.5 levels have decreased by 44% in residential areas, 58% in commercial areas, and 32% in industrial areas, although they remain above the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) levels.

Notably, air pollution levels in India are calculated based on the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). According to the NAAQS, the level of PM10 is 100 micrograms per cubic meter, and the level of PM2.5 is 60 micrograms per cubic meter. In contrast, the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) set PM10 at 45 micrograms per cubic meter and PM2.5 at 15 micrograms per cubic meter.

Excessive noise pollution that plagues all areas

Noise pollution levels exceeded the prescribed level in all areas. Amausi had the highest noise pollution in Lucknow, with an average of 79.8 during the day and 72.8 at night. Among residential areas, Indira Nagar had the highest noise level, with an average of 73.5 during the day and 61.5 at night. Noise pollution standards for residential areas are 55 decibels during the day and 45 decibels at night, while commercial areas have a standard of 65 decibels during the day and 55 decibels at night. In industrial areas, noise pollution should not exceed 75 decibels during the day and 70 decibels at night.

Fuel consumption increased by 22.2% from 2022

Gasoline — 237%

Diesel — 24.9%

CNG — 22.2%

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