Yuka Yantra

Pollution caused by various elements, especially due to traffic has been studied for long, thereby giving rise to numerous policy interventions that encompass fuel change, alternative fuels, vehicle technology improvements, cleaner fuel, among numerous others. Nevertheless, even after all these interventions, thanks to the exponential growth of vehicles in cities, the pollution has been mounting unprecedented levels through high-density development leading to the creation of bottlenecks at several traffic junctions. On the Other hand, Cold Start and idle emissions from vehicles are also few of the indoor air problems that have been witnessed in India recently where enough emphasis has not been laid. There is an urgent need to assess the status and plan for remedial measures since these concentrations of pollutants in terms of gases sometimes reach to lethal concentrations (acute exposures) in the presence of limited or no ventilation.

Department of Environment along with MPCB and World Trade Center recently conducted a Conference cum exhibition on “Pathway Towards Formulation of Science Based Environmental Policy for the State of Maharashtra” on the eve of Earth Day 22nd April, 2016. The concluding agenda of the conference was extended by the Hon’ble Addl. Principal Secretary and Member Secretary to prepare an exhaustive list of interesting technologies that bear the potential for environmental management in the near future.

One such technology that could serve as an easy and effective solution to fugitive sources of air pollution is “Yuka Yantra”, an unconventional technology to treat the indoor air & its successive variants in form of - 3 stage virtual chimney for traffic junctions as one end of the pipe for air pollution abatement mechanism. The unit is a blend of a unique methodology using low-temperature catalysis with a combination of Advanced Oxidation Process and adsorption as one of the pioneering technologies for air pollution cleaning in closed spaces of a building as well as in terms of a virtual chimney at traffic junctions.

Virtual Chimenys

With the increasing densities of urban areas, it is inevitable for builders to go vertical for building structures in order to accommodate the maximum population in comparatively smaller footprints. Though this has been more evident in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, the same has led to certain scenarios of unacceptable factors that are categorized into 3 major sectors viz; traffic bottlenecks, pollution hotspots & reduced dispersion of pollutants.

People have been facing critical issues of pollution hotspots at several locations which have lead to multiple complications. The dispersion analysis studies carried out in the past shows that the basic flaws of high background traffic and creation of some bottlenecks around the site leads to excessive concentration build-up at certain receptors which are a considerable cause of concern. The basic problem as understood from the assessment of secondary data is that even if project related emissions from traffic may not be of serious concern at present, the cumulative traffic and projections for the site related study area may result in serious concerns for mankind.

There may be options available through policy mechanisms for mitigating pollution through smoothening of traffic using more efficient synchronization or road widening mechanisms. Most of these methods are already in place and some additional ones are being planned to ensure thorough cleaning of air around the site based on the earlier studies. Conventional methods of pollution control through technology improvement, fuel improvement, signal synchronization, etc. are already in place not only in metropolises but across other major cities as well, but there is a dire need to look for unconventional options.

Air Cleaning System

While most of the attention was focused on outdoor air pollution over the last few years, indoor air pollution is under-reported and less regulated than its counterpart. A cursory glance at news reports and government reports over the recent years on buildings with poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) suggests that the number of IAQ-related health complaints has risen drastically, which is thereby increasing the costs of insurance and litigation to redress these problems.

Environmental Protection Agency studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 – 5 times, and occasionally more than 100 times, higher than the outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants may be of particular concern because most people spend about 90% of their time indoors. Research has shown greater exposure to indoor air pollutants in economically developing countries based on income and in some cases greater occupational exposure to air pollutants among those in the lower income brackets. In addition to exposure, baseline health status and health-related behaviors differ depending on the socioeconomic factors.

Cold Start and idle emissions from vehicles are few of the reasons for such indoor air problems that have been witnessed in India recently. There is an urgent need to assess the status and plan for remedial measures since this concentration of pollutants sometimes reaches lethal concentrations (acute exposures) in the presence of limited or no ventilation. Self-sustaining systems with multiple treatment system philosophies should be employed to solve the problem of parking area related static/semi-static pollution. The system shall use adsorption as well as alternative means of low-temperature catalysis and/or photochemical oxidation (AOP).

References-

  • Ott and Roberts, 1998; Smith 1996, 1993
  • Federal Register, 1994; GAO, 1999
  • Smith et al., 1986, 1996, 2000
  • Rotko et al., 2000