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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Problem of Black Carbon in the atmosphere of Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand state of India

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Smoke and fumes emitted from brick kilns, factories, vehicles and electric generators produce greater quantities of black carbon in the atmosphere of Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand state. As per reports from some local researchers black carbon in the atmosphere of Ranchi has gone up to 9000 nanograms per day. The current record is reported to be 45 times greater than the standard fixed by the concerned department.

Experts in the city are of the opinion that the current rise of black carbon in the atmosphere of Ranchi is sure to cause asthma, tuberculosis and other diseases of respiratory tract in the public living at least in the urban area and may affect the community health adversely.

The black carbon measuring apparatus that has been installed in the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi has recorded 9000 nanograms which is much higher than the earlier records. BIT workers support that diesel engines are the main source of emission of black carbon. However, burning of dung cakes which have been done in the city on a large scale, burning of coal mostly in slum areas of the city, and traditional practice of burning wood for cooking are other major contributors of black carbon in the area.

The ambitious mid-day meal programme is being run in most of the schools in rural and urban areas of Jharkhand as also in other states in order to attract children to schools. Unfortunately, most of these schools cook food on domestic chullhas where wood is burnt on large scales as hundreds of children are to be fed in each school. Due to short supply of LPG  and less allocation of funds for the purpose compounded with no facility for procurement of LPG on subsidized rates, schools are hard up to manage for the cooking gas for preparing mid-day meal for children. This practice is causing heavy rise in the level of black carbon in the atmosphere, but no one is ready to raise a voice about the trend. On the other hand serious indoor pollution ( both land pollution and air pollution) is caused through careless practices including burning of wood and improper management of food leftovers in schools. The smoke released from chullhas spread in the school atmosphere first before rising up in the air, and cause serious indoor pollution in schools. Here in BIT, researches on black carbon are being conducted under a two crore project sponsored by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

The amount of black carbon recorded on 26th of July was 202 nanograms. Experts are of the opinion that rains and wind caused a reduction in the record of black carbon on the day. When sky remains clear and the wind speed is normal, the deposition of black carbon remains higher. It has been reported  that small buses that ply in the city release 1000, diesel and petro-autos release 5000, generators release 4000 and two-wheelers emit 30,000 nanograms of black carbon per day in the area.

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