Emission of sulphur dioxide from Mumbai refineries within prescribed norms, says G20 Sherpa of India

Emission of sulphur dioxide from Mumbai refineries within prescribed norms, says G20 Sherpa of India

The analysis of the prevailing poor air quality in Mumbai by SAFAR shows that emission levels from industry may not be the single factor responsible for poor air quality during November and December 2022.

Sanjay JogUpdated: Monday, December 12, 2022, 09:07 PM IST
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Emission of sulphur dioxide from Mumbai refineries within prescribed norms, says G20 Sherpa of India | Representational image

Mumbai: Amid Mumbai’s poor air quality, Mr Amitabh Kant, who is presently G20 Sherpa of India during its Presidency year, on Monday said that the emission of sulphur dioxide from Mumbai refineries is within prescribed norms of 10.44 ppm. 

However, Mr Kant, who discussed the issue with the union petroleum secretary, noted that ‘’All refineries are connected to the Central Pollution Control Board server online indicating the values of sulphur dioxide, No2 and other data. They have been examined. These refineries are modern ones and do not emit smoke but sulphur dioxide which is within prescribed norms of 10.44 ppm. The petroleum secretary who had done an intensive review of the two oil refineries situated in Chembur, has said that for the next two to three months the refineries will ensure that they will reduce the liquid sulphur and sulphur content into flue gases.’’

G20 DWG

Mr Kant, who is in Mumbai for the four day meeting of G20 Development Working Group, however, insisted that ‘’Long term measures are required not just in terms of refineries but also in terms of keeping Mumbai’s air quality of high quality switching over to electric mobility. There are many challenges in Delhi but they are different from Mumbai.’’ ‘’One of the challenges is Deonar dumping ground which is also near the refineries. The burning there should be stopped. Tata Power has stacks backside of BARC which should switch over to the cleaner form,’’ he noted.

Mr Kant argued that several  long term mitigation measures are required.  He however, added that ‘’I will not like to comment on that as my job as G20 Sherpa is to do a good professional job and see that the group meeting takes place professionally and the city of Mumbai benefits from that.’’

BMC's concern over smoke emission

Mr Kant’s statement came days after the BrihanMumbai Municipal Commissioner Mr Iqbal Singh Chahal last week had raised the issue with the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas so that smoke emitted from the refineries can be checked.

Meanwhile, experts warn that the city is likely to experience an increasing number of days with "Poor" and "Very Poor" air quality in the coming years during winter months, something that the city witnessed this season, especially during the months of November and December. The bright side, however, is that Mumbai's air pollution is likely to see a dip in the coming days under the influence of Cyclone Mandous' aftermath and with the wind speed over Mumbai expected to pick up.

Dr Gufran Beig, Founder and Project Director, System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) under the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Ministry of Earth Sciences, “There are more than unusual calm winds across the Mumbai region and surrounding parts of western India. This has ensured that the dispersion of air pollutants being emitted from pollution-related activities does not happen swiftly despite Mumbai being surrounded by the ocean.’’

Emission levels not alone responsible for poor air quality: SAFAR

The analysis of the prevailing poor air quality in Mumbai by SAFAR shows that emission levels from industry may not be the single factor responsible for poor air quality during November and December 2022. One cannot neglect emissions from construction activities in the city, which have led to high air pollution events.

“If we observe this event, the visibility across Mumbai took a hit during this period. This means both fine and coarse particulate matter was high in Mumbai’s air. Our data also indicates and validates that. If industries or refineries were the major sources of air pollution then only the fine particulate matter or PM2.5 would have been high. Thus, it is construction dust (part of residential emissions) which has led to an increase in Pm2.5 and PM10, worsening Mumbai’s air quality,” said Dr Beig.

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