As India charts the path of growth, it is witnessing an increasing level of population in the cities. The rapid expansion of the road network and motorisation has also come to mean an immense increase in vehicular pollution. Giving an international perspective on air quality management and health risk impacts from traffic emissions, Sunil Ojha, Manager, Environmental & Health, Ramboll India said that immediate steps need to be implemented in India to reduce the detrimental environmental impact of the vehicular pollutions.
Ramboll’s air quality expertise
Speaking at a workshop on ‘Issues & Challenges of Air Pollution in Delhi’ organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Delhi on 6 May 2016, Sunil noted: “The management of air quality encompasses development of technical and regulatory information on a national scale.” Ramboll’s air quality practice offerings, Sunil added, is characterised by the highest level of technical and scientific skills. “We have developed air quality models including CAMx, AERMOD-COARE and CalEEMod which are used to predict the air quality and health risk impacts. Apart from these, Ramboll has expertise in using models such as CMAQ, ADMS, AERMOD, Calpuff and SCICHEM,” added Sunil.
An international perspective
Giving a comparative overview of the steps followed in the regulatory process in evaluating impact from vehicular pollutions, Sunil highlighted the differences between the analyses done for a highway widening project in United States as compared to a similar project in India. Sunil spoke at length about the mobile source air toxic (MSAT) emissions which are emitted by the various vehicles moving on the road. “MSAT emissions have the potential to impact human health and are a cause of concern for various environmental regulatory agencies across the world. Cancer as well as non-cancer health affects result from exposure to MSAT emissions,” pointed Sunil. He stressed that apart from studying the level of different pollutants in the air (Particulate Matter, Nitrogen Oxides and Sulphur Oxides among others), MSAT emission should also be evaluated and included in the decision-making process in India.
The workshop was a high-level platform for policy makers, government officials, academicians, industry experts and environmentalists to review the science behind air quality and pollution control policies. It also showcased and identified opportunities and challenges in air quality management in India in the coming years.