As air quality in Chandigarh worsens, only rain can wash away the smog | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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As air quality in Chandigarh worsens, only rain can wash away the smog

In the last week, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city has stayed in the 301-400 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³) bracket, which is categorised as ‘very poor’, as the acceptable limit is 100.

punjab Updated: Nov 09, 2017 12:31 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Smog in Mohali on Wednesday noon. A mix of smoke and fog, the phenomenon causes respiratory problems.
Smog in Mohali on Wednesday noon. A mix of smoke and fog, the phenomenon causes respiratory problems. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

The air you are breathing in Chandigarh is of “very poor” quality, and only rain can stop it from worsening. But that’s likely only in another five days, says the meteorological department. In the last week, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city has stayed in the 301-400 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³) bracket, which is categorised as ‘very poor’, as the acceptable limit is 100.

On Wednesday, just after 3pm the AQI was recorded at 352 in Industrial Area.

AQI: Remark: Possible Health Impacts
  • 0-50 Good Minimal impact
  • 51-100 Satisfactory Minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people
  • 101-200 Moderate Breathing discomfort to the people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases
  • 201-300 Poor Breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure
  • 301-400 Very Poor Respiratory illness on prolonged exposure
  • 401-500 Severe Affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases

Met director Surender Paul said, at Chandigarh said, “After November 11, there is possibility of western disturbances, which will strengthen on November 13-14, so rain is likely during these days.”

The Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee has been measuring quality of air at four places — Kaimbwala village, Industrial Area Phase 1, IMTECH in Sector 39, and Sector 17. “Air quality has started deteriorating in the city from Diwali onwards; paddy stubble burning in the adjoining states has worsened the problem,” said PJS Dadhwal, member secretary of the CPCC.

Acute effects of smog include irritation of eyes and nose, cough, chest congestion, asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses.

He elaborated, “Delayed rain and a no-wind condition are the two other reasons. Chandigarh has not received any rain post-September, because of which particulate matter (air pollutants) remains suspended in the air.”

In Industrial Area, within six days the AQI has gone from 308 to 352. Further, the level of PM 2.5, small enough to get embedded in the lungs causing serious respiratory illness, was more than triple (187) the standard 60 µg/m³. The level of PM 10 (or RSPM) was double the limit at 261 against 100.

AQI display in Sector 19 in Chandigarh on Wednesday. (HT Photo)

How smogs affects your health

Dr SK Jindal, a city-based pulmonologist, said the acute effects of smog include irritation of eyes and nose, cough, chest congestion, asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses. Apart from this, smog has long-term effects too.

The doctor said that the best remedy is to avoid exposure to smog, especially during mornings and late evenings. Also, one should take adequate fluids and people suffering from respiratory illness should become extra careful and visit the doctor on time.