Air pollution in Kashmir has increased rapidly over the last few decades due to urbanisation, inadequate transportation systems, increased number of vehicles, use of fuel, industrialisation in and around the city area, and above all, ineffective environmental rules and regulations. Kashmir has a population of 12,541,302 residents and is a less developed area situated on the northern side of India. The increase in an immense number of brick kilns has given rise to the surplus gathering of contaminants in the atmosphere, creating air quality issues as a matter of concern not only for researchers but also for the government and for state and central pollution control boards.
Children and older persons are the most vulnerable groups exposed to the adverse consequences of pollutants. (Bhat and Gaga, 2022a) calculated the brick kiln emission inventories for six critical air pollutants, most of which are discharged by these kilns in this region. The calculated emissions for FCK kiln type, commonly brick kiln type in Kashmir, in terms of fired bricks for pollutants like BC, PM2.5, CO2, CO, SO2, and VOC, were 50.59, 742.10, 25127.36, 742.01, 3035.52, and 129346.88 tons. The ultimate objective of their projected work was to comprehend the relation between the levels of atmospheric pollution and the chemical components generated from various brick kilns by evaluating them with several meteorological parameters. Figure 1 shows the position and abundance of brick kilns in Kashmir valley. 272 kilns are actively running at present, and only four kilns are working with proper permits (Bhat and Gaga, 2022a).
There is a vast gap in research regarding the evaluation of atmospheric pollutant emissions in Kashmir. Srinagar, having a population of 1,180,570 residents (Bhat and Gaga, 2022b), is an underdeveloped region in Kashmir and has a greater vehicular size and unique topographic attributes that make it vulnerable to air pollution problems. Since the vehicular number in Srinagar area is anticipated to rise at an elevated rate continuously, there is a crucial demand to recognize the intensity of the region’s vehicular pollution. In Srinagar, there are four different vehicle categories: passenger cars, heavy-duty vehicles, and L-category vehicles. For these categories, the typical average-day estimated emissions of CO, NMVOC, NOx, and CO2 from the combustion of lubricant oil and CO2 from fuel were 248.13, 78.98, 39.39, 27.05, and 4415.13 tons/day, respectively, while the benzo(k)fluoranthene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene, lead (Pb), and ID(1,2,3-cd)P were having emission rates of 32.44, 35.99, 17.23, 274.20, and 21.53 g/day, respectively.
The PM, N2O, NH3, and SO2 emissions were 2400.02, 237.47, 745.57, and 5.48 kg/day (Bhat and Gaga, 2022b). These results could help policymakers identify pollution sources and design appropriate control measures. Defining and prioritizing air quality management strategies to protect air quality in the Kashmir valley is necessary. A systematic decision-making approach should be applied to make correct prioritization. The priority rankings of alternatives obtained from the Analytic Hierarchy Process are as follows: standards > better fuel type > proper maintenance > using proper technology systems > location away from particular sector > proper construction (Bhat and Gaga, 2022c).
Figure 1: Distribution and abundance of brick kilns in the Kashmir valley
Bhat, M.A., Gaga, E.O., 2022a. Air Pollutant Emissions in the Pristine Kashmir Valley from the Brick Kilns. pp. 959–979.
Bhat, M.A., Gaga, E.O., 2022b. Compendium of a Road Transport Emission Inventory for Srinagar City of Kashmir, in: Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability in Asia. pp. 997–1011. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-73943-0
Bhat, M.A., Gaga, E.O., 2022c. A New Approach Within AHP Framework for Prioritization of Air Quality Management in Kashmir, in: Biodiversity, Conservation and Sustainability in Asia. pp. 981–995. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-73943-0
The writer is with Faculty of Engineering, Department of Environmental Engineering, Eskisehir Technical University, Eskisehir, Turkey. [email protected]