Air pollution on the rise in Noida as factories openUpdated: May 21, 2020 23:35 IST
Noida: After staying within prescribed limits during the first three phases of lockdown, the air pollution levels in Noida and adjoining regions have now started to rise.
While the pollution levels are still much lesser – almost half – as compared to those of last year during the same period, the month of May is seeing a sudden spike in the air quality index that fluctuates between ‘moderate’ to ‘poor’ categories on the air quality index (AQI) against the ‘satisfactory’ to ‘moderate’ categories last month.
According to records from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), the AQI for Noida in April 2020 oscillated from 73 to 184 on a scale of 0 to 500, with half of the month seeing ‘satisfactory’ air quality. However, the AQI for May 2020 so far has oscillated between 97 and 160, with only a few days of ‘satisfactory’ air quality. On the AQI, 0 is least polluted whereas 500 is most polluted.
Going by CPCB’s data, the month of April saw a total of 17 days of ‘satisfactory’, 12 days of ‘moderate’, and one day of ‘poor’ AQI. Meanwhile, until May 21, the month has experienced only three days of ‘satisfactory’ and 18 days of ‘moderate’ air quality.
The AQI in April and May last year had oscillated between ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories.
According to the CPCB, for the month of April 2020, the average particulate matter (PM) 2.5 was recorded at 45.86 micrograms per cubic metres (Ug/m3), while the same was 84.52 Ug/m3 in the same month last year. The average volume of PM2.5 for May 2020 so far has increased to 50 Ug/m3 against 99.38 Ug/m3 last year in May.
The district administration of Gautam Budh Nagar had earlier in May allowed construction activities as well as restricted operations of industries to run. However, due to a number of reasons, the operations of industries are yet to reach their full potential.
“While the pollution levels are still under control, thanks to the lockdown, pollution levels are rising yet again and the major reason seems to be that more and more vehicles are now plying on roads due to lockdown relaxations. We had also seen traffic across the Delhi-Noida-Direct flyway, even as industrial units and construction activities are still far from resuming operations to their full strength. This gives us a rough idea that we have to take a fresh look into the sources of pollution. The share of vehicular pollution has to be more than what it is believed to be,” said Ashish Jain, director, Indian Pollution Control Association.
According to Noida-based environmentalists, increasing cases of waste burning is also causing issues and needs to be checked.
“Slight rise in pollution levels could be felt and the AQI levels are also showing the same. While relaxation in the lockdown could be one of the reasons, however more and more incidents of waste burning, etc., are being reported. There are many cases of waste burning, and this has to be checked,” said Vikrant Tongad, a Noida-based environmentalist.
While officials said they also noticed that the air quality is dropping, they, however, believe that meteorological reasons such as dust storms to be the major cause.
“Yes, there has been slight deterioration in the air quality, but the major reason for the same is dust storms in recent weeks. Obviously, vehicular emissions are a reason and their share is somewhere between 22 to 33%, but the current situation is more due to the dust coming in,” said Anil Kumar Singh, regional officer, UPPCB, Noida.