Pollution shot up on Tuesday in Delhi, experts blame low wind speed

  • Ritam Halder, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 27, 2016 20:44 IST
A civil defence volunteer takes a break in Nehru place on Wednesday. (Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times)

The quality of Delhi’s air deteriorated on Tuesday with PM 2.5 levels shooting up on the fifth day of the odd-even car restriction, shows an analysis by The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri).

Teri is collecting data daily from four Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) monitoring stations and is looking at five other locations for air quality. The air quality data, made available to Hindustan Times, showed that the city’s air was more polluted on Tuesday when compared to Monday.

At Anand Vihar, one of the most polluted spots in the Capital, the concentration of PM 2.5 – particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause respiratory and cardiac problems – was recorded at 153 microgram per cubic metres (µg/m3) on Tuesday.

On Monday, the PM2.5 level at Anand Vihar was recorded at 122 µg/m3.

At RK Puram, the PM 2.5 level was 160 µg/m3 on Tuesday, a considerable increase from Monday’s average of 100 µg/m3. At Punjabi Bagh, the microfine particles were recorded at 134 µg/m3, while on Monday it was 72 µg/m3.

At Mandir Marg, PM2.5 was well within standards on Monday at 41 µg/m3. On Tuesday, however, it nearly doubled to 83 µg/m3.

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The Indian permissible standard for PM 2.5 is 60 µg/m3 while the World Health Organisation, that listed Delhi’s air as the worst in the world last year, considers 25 µg/m3 to be of good quality.

PM 2.5 is often released by vehicular and industrial emissions and is tiny enough to cause severe respiratory and cardiac problems. The matter is so fine that even protective masks available in the market cannot filter them out.

Teri experts said that a primary reason behind the pollution levels shooting up was because of the differing levels of wind speeds.

“On Tuesday, air pollution increased as the wind speed, which results in dispersion of pollutants, was comparatively less at 5km/hour. On Monday, it was 8 km/hour,” said Teri’s Sumit Sharma who led the monitoring team.

Sharma added that a detailed analysis is required to ascertain the actual impact of the second phase of road rationing scheme after it concludes on April 30.

The Delhi government had announced the odd-even measure for the first time in January as a measure to check pollution that had touched alarming levels in the city.

Also read: Hindustan Times brings you a real-time air quality map

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