Tamil Nadu - Chennai
'Bucket brigade' comes to check Chennai air
Mar 11, 2004
Online edition of India's National Newspaper
By Our Staff Reporter
CHENNAI Chennaiites on Tuesday were introduced to the `bucket
brigade,' a movement of people to sample the air they breathe.
Conceived by community activists in the United States, the brigade is all
about a bucket with a detachable plastic bag inside. Air is drawn into the
plastic bag, changing the pressure inside the bucket and sent to laboratory
The bucket has an airtight lid and is fitted with two nozzles. While the
brass nozzle is fitted to a tube running down to a vacuum pump, the
stainless nozzle is fixed to the mouth of a tedlar (form of polymer) plastic
bag free from contaminants. As the vacuum pump operates, the pressure inside
the bucket will go down sucking in air through the stainless steel nozzle
into the tedlar bag. The bag can be detached, sealed and couriered to the
laboratory for testing for volatile organic compounds, said Denny Larson,
Director of Global Community Monitoring, an environmental group advocating
the bucket brigade.
At a presentation, jointly organised by Toxics Link-Chennai and Citizens
Consumer and Civic Action Group, Mr. Larson said buckets could be used to
measure pollution levels or respond to emissions from chemical factories.
The scientific data generated from testing the air would force the
industries to take note of pollution.
Shweta Narayan, representative of Community Environment Monitoring (CEM),
said the bucket brigade was introduced in Cuddalore around the industrial
estate of the Small Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu, where
communities were subject to air and water pollution by chemical industries.
The CEM, a programme to help the community understand its stake in the
environment and act accordingly, also introduced incident monitoring, water
testing, air sampling and preparedness and emergency response to check the
pollution level in the area.
While the tedlar bag cost about $ 15, testing the air sample would cost
between $ 225 and $ 500 depending upon the parameters, Mr. Larson said.
Participants, who included pollution control board officials,
environmentalists and academicians, raised queries on the availability of
the bag in India, the cost of the tests, permeability of tedlar bags, the
process of gaseous sampling and various other protocols.
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