The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) said the air quality monitoring machines installed in Battaramulla and in Kandy would be operational next month and the Authority would be in a position to monitor air quality 24 hours a day from June.
CEA Deputy Director of Laboratory Services, Kamal Priyantha told the Daily Mirror that they were planning to monitor the dangerous Particulate Matter (PM) in air below 10 from June 5 to coincide with the World Environment Day (WED).
Particulate matter 10 contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can be inhaled. They are injurious to health. Some particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter can get deep into a person’s lungs and some may even get into his or her bloodstream.
In Battaramulla, the CEA would introduce a colour code system. Besides, there would be mobile monitors countrywide. The latest world Air Pollution Report has identified Sri Lanka as the 18th worst country as regards air pollution.
The report reveals that during 2018, four of the five most polluted countries in the world were in South Asia. Of the 85 cities monitored in this region, 99 per cent failed to meet the WHO annual guideline for PM2.5. As a whole, cities here average a PM2.5 concentration of 60 µg/m³, which is six times the recommended limit of 10 µg/m³.
Delhi typically receives most media coverage as one of the world’s "pollution capitals", the Indian capital "only" ranks 10th for annual PM2.5 concentration.
At the initial stages, the Vehicle Emission Testing (VET) Programme brought down the permitted levels of Particulate Matter (PM 10) and Sulphur levels in most of parts of the country. However, for number of years, monitoring didn’t take place. Earlier, VET officials monitored Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Water Vapour (H2O), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Nitrous Oxide Gases (Nox) content and the percentage of Particulate Matter (PM) in cities. (Sheain Fernandopulle)