Air quality of Gurgaon was categorised as severe on Wednesday as the fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) level reached 527 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³), almost nine times higher than the permissible limit of 60 µg/m³. The minimum temperature recorded on Wednesday was 14 degrees Celsius, a two-degree dip from Tuesday.
The PM 2.5 level on Tuesday was 412.4 µg/m³. The increase in pollution, combined with fog in the winter, has left residents facing respiratory problems.
According to experts, the situation will worsen over the next few days as the temperature is expected to decrease further. Hospitals in the city said that cases of respiratory illnesses have increased by 20%-25%.
“The present scenario is very dangerous and people with respiratory problems should stay indoors. As the air quality is poor, the number of people complaining of respiratory issues has increased. This might increase the risk of cardiac arrest, stroke and paralytic attack,” Dr Rajesh Kumar, senior consultant, internal medicine, Paras Hospital, said.
Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE),said, “Open burning and old diesel autos are the reasons for high pollutants in the air. With no proper mechanism in place in the city to ban diesel autos, the air quality is not improving.”
Experts said that the pollution is high as the district administration has failed to check open burning of waste in the city. “Though the Gurgaon district administration has exercised Section 144 of the CrPC and banned the burning of waste, dry leaves and other materials, garbage burning continues,” Ruchika Sethi, a member of clean Gurgaon, an NGO, said.
She also said that the Swachh Bharat app, which residents can use to upload pictures of the location where garbage is being burnt, is not popularised enough.
Hazy conditions prevailed throughout the day and visibility was also low. Officials of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) said that pollutants were not being dispersed due to zero wind.
According to the studies conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), open burning of solid waste emits pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).