No concrete remedial measures have been taken to check the adverse impact of air and noise pollution created by the movement of aircraft in areas near the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport area—Dwarka and R.K. Puram—even as there is much hue and cry over pollution caused by firecrackers.
According to experts, the maximum discharge of harmful gases like carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide takes place at the time of approaching towards an airport for landing and also at the time of take-off. However, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has not been updating the Air Quality Index (AQI) details of IGI area since 5 May. As on Friday 19 October, R.K. Puram shows AQI as 784 (hazardous), while Dwarka areas shows 420 (hazardous).
Social activist Anil Sood wondered whether this meant that the CPCB, Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCC) and Union Environment Ministry are concealing something serious which otherwise is against public interest. He has apprised the agencies responsible for the menace, saying he will move court if the problems are not resolved.
Noise and air pollution near airports is a global issue, but everywhere governments have taken concrete steps to minimise its adverse effects. For example, dense forestation is done in the “landing funnel” areas—areas from where aircraft start descending for take-off or from where the distance to the aircraft is short—to absorb the hazardous gases.
According to information, out of 555 international airports, 255 have imposed “night curfew” at the airports between either 10 pm to 6am or 11pm to 7 am.
For example, at Heathrow airport in London, the British Airport Authority has provided noise insulation systems, at its own cost, to houses near the airport. It has an efficient system of flight operations. As many as 1,560 aircraft take off or land there every day, with two runways and “night curfew”. At another airport, Gatwick in London, there is only runway but as many as 960 aircraft move every day, with “night curfew”.
“If these airports can handle so many aircraft daily with night curfew, why cannot it be done in Delhi? Here as many as 1,000 aircraft operate every day, without any night curfew, 24x7, despite having three runways. And then, we know that a large number of aircraft keep hovering over Delhi sky. Definitely, something is lacking here. The government must address this issue on a priority basis,” Sood, who is the president of the social organisation Chetna, told The Sunday Guardian.
“It appears that the AQI around the airport and areas like Mehrauli, Vasant Kunj, Mahipalpur and Shahbad Mohammadpur has not been carried out by design and not by oversight. This shows that the government agencies are more inclined to facilitate the airport operators and are least bothered about the citizens who are exposed to massive pollution,” he added.
Adding to the problem is the pollution created by the casting yard allowed to be set up by HCCL for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the Metro line in the middle of the Nelson Mandela Road, which was cleared by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), which is creating dust pollution in the R.K. Puram area.