News Excerpt
Researchers at the Aryabhata Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) have found that the concentration of near surface ozone in Brahmaputra River Valley (BRV) region is low as compared to the other urban locations. This brought the good news for the valley people.

Pre-Connect
•    Ground-level ozone or tropospheric ozone, is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
•    Ground level Ozone usually increases when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources chemically react in the presence of sunlight, impacting human health.
•    ARIES is an autonomous research institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

Key findings
    Researchers have analyzed the variability of ozone and other air pollutants over Brahmaputra River Valley region with seasonal, day of week and other characteristics.
    Researcher’s team the emission source of ozone and its precursors, especially methane (CH4) and NMHCs (non-methane hydrocarbons), along with study the relationships between the meteorological parameters, ozone and its precursors in a tropical setting is being done by the team.
    The ozone concentrations in the region shown that it was strongly influenced by local oxides of nitrogen emission sources emit by a nearby national highway vehicles.
    Winter ozone concentrations were observed and cause by local biomass burning providing reactive VOCs that attributed to the formation of ozone.
    During the pre-monsoon season, an impact of insolation on the photochemical formation of ozone was analyzed.
Impacts of Concentration of High Ground level Ozone

Health Effects    Environmental Effects
•    Exposure is dangerous for those suffering from respiratory problems.
•    Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and airway inflammation.
•    It also can reduce lung function and harm lung tissue.
•    Ozone can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma, leading to increased medical care.
•    In addition, people with certain genetic characteristics, and people with reduced intake of certain nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, are at greater risk from ozone exposure.    
    •    Ozone affects sensitive vegetation and ecosystems, including forests, parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas.  
•    Ozone harms sensitive vegetation during the growing season.
•    It can Reduce photosynthesis and slow the plant's growth.
•    Rural satellites around cities generally experience high level of Ozone, particularly because agriculture production is known to be adversely affected by high ozone concentrations.


Monitoring of Ozone levels In India
    National Air Quality Monitoring Program (NAMP) is a nationwide program executed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to monitor the ambient air quality across the country.
    Under NAMP, only four air pollutants namely Sulphur dioxide (SO2), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and Respirable Particulate Matter (RSPM) are regularly monitored.   
    Surface ozone is monitored by the CPCB through automatic monitoring stations.
    The levels are maximum during summer and minimum in monsoon.  
    The levels are maximum during daytime and minimum during night or early morning.
    In India, surface ozone levels are above the recommended threshold of 8-hour average of 100 µg/m3 for air quality monitoring at various stations.

Way forward
Ozone is not emitted directly. It is a secondary pollutant. Hence, there is need to control the emission of primary pollutant associated with formation of ozone, that would attribute to the decreasing of ground level Ozone formation.  The ways to minimize the primary pollutant are-
o    Mitigate pollution, NOx vehicular emission by regulating BS-VI norms in strengthen way.
o    Increase electric mobility and develop electric infrastructure in order to replace fossil fuel-based emission.
o    Increase public transport, control Industrial pollutant and emission by active monitoring and regulation.