VISAKHAPATNAM: The revised annual development plan of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) for ambient air quality improvement has got the approval of the state government. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has identified 13 cities and towns in Andhra Pradesh as non-attainment cities for not meeting national ambient air quality standards.
These cities should prepare appropriate action plans aimed at reducing the air pollution levels to the prescribed norms. The action plan will indicate steps to be taken to check different sources of pollution having speedy, definite and specific timelines for execution.
The Union government sanctioned Rs 73 crore to the GVMC as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission in order to improve the air quality in Vizag city. While Rs 36.5 crore would be spent on air quality improvement measures including capacity building, the remaining Rs 36.5 crore would be used for improvement in solid waste management. The GVMC has already got approvals for seven works to the tune of Rs 31.2 crore. The state government about two weeks ago gave its nod for the remaining five works, amounting to Rs 41.8 crore.
Visakhapatnam city is located in the north-eastern coast of Andhra Pradesh and the entire city lies within two major hill ranges, i.e., Yarada and Adavivaram (Simhachalam). These two hill ranges lead to temperature inversion, particularly during the winter season.
The major habitation and industries co-exist in the bowl area as residential colonies sprang up in the surroundings of industries. Due to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, population in the city increased from 7.52 to about 22 lakh while vehicular population has increased from 74,000 to as much as 14 lakh over the last two decades.
In addition to industrial pollution, re-suspension of road dust, vehicular emissions, municipal solid waste, construction activities, etc. are also contributing to ambient air pollution in Visakhapatnam city.
According to GVMC officials, the civic body would take up various measures with the Rs 73 crore, including remediation of the existing dumpsite in Kapuluppada, creating mini transfer stations, development of traffic junctions for free flow of traffic, pollution monitoring machines, electric vehicles, development of greenery and heavy vehicle management.