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Air pollution issues

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Pollution

As we know that the air pollution issues for the city is gaining attention. Yes, there is pollution and we should not deny it. What I have seen so far is many individuals are doing work on air quality issues without any knowledge or background. Thanks to Google, they spend an hour reading about air pollution and they have become experts.  There was a time when solid waste was a buzzword. Everyone jumped into the field as there was monetary gain and to get attention. Now that has taken the back seat, air quality is the buzzword now. Here also there is monetary gain and attention to be sought. Many of them are jumping into this with Google knowledge and talking rubbish. Many of them are holding sensors (nothing but toys) that are sold by unscrupulous manufacturers and going around collecting wrong data and claiming that there is lot of pollution in the city. One of the NGOs (name withheld) went to KSPCB with their data and got an earful from the officer as the NGO challenged the agency with their (wrong) data collected with a toy sensor. Getting the wrong data and misinterpreting it is nothing but a mockery of serious issues.   

The tragedy here is that these activities are funded by foundations and philanthropic initiatives. They don’t have an idea what is going on and whether the work is right or not. There is a saying, baffle by BS. That’s what the people who are doing this type of work have done with funding agencies who have ended up believing them.   

Air quality is a regulatory issue unlike solid waste. No comparisons here. This needs a multi-agency coordination. Let people with background and experience work on it. My request to the funding agencies is that they need to really understand the background of the people and their intention before funding them.

A small example. I was a consultant to a govt organization that was working on an air quality project. My colleague was an M Tech graduate in a different field. This individual read from the Google and worked on the project. When I started reviewing, most of the work was wrong. They were about to publish their findings before I caught it. To add to the misery, Rs. 20 lakhs of the funding money from the govt went down the drain.   

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