The issue of high air pollution in Assam’s largest city Guwahati was on Tuesday discussed in the state Assembly, with the government assuring the MLAs of various measures taken to improve the situation.
The matter was raised by Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) legislator Ramendra Narayan Kalita, who cited a newspaper report featuring the high air pollution level in Guwahati.
According to the report, five cities of Assam figured among the most-polluted places in the country based on data by the Central Pollution Control Board, the West Guwahati MLA said.
Replying to Kalita, Health and Family Welfare Minister Keshab Mahanta said the government was aware that Guwahati, Nagaon, Nalbari, Sivsagar and Silchar were among the 131 cities with the worst air pollution in the country.
While there were various causes for low air quality, emissions from vehicles and dust particles in the air from various sources were the primary reasons. In the case of Guwahati, sand from the Brahmaputra, dust from surrounding hills, construction works and almost no rainfall during the winters had aggravated the situation, Mahanta said.
He also shared data on the air quality index of the city for February, during which eight days were categorised as ‘very poor’, 10 as ‘poor’, nine as ‘moderate’ and only one as ‘satisfactory’.
Among the remedial measures being taken, the minister said afforestation drive in the surrounding hills, modernisation of the public transport system and changes in people’s lifestyle conducive to the environment were being pursued.
“We are always in the process of implementing the LiFE scheme. Moreover, awareness campaigns are being undertaken through different media for concerted efforts with the public to check pollution,” the minister added.
The ‘LiFE campaign’ promotes an environmentally conscious lifestyle that focuses on mindful and deliberate utilisation of resources rather than mindless and wasteful consumption.