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Air quality in western UP worst in the country: Central Pollution control board

  Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 19:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
As thick smog enveloped Agra on Wednesday morning, many commuters kept the headlights of their vehicles on.
As thick smog enveloped Agra on Wednesday morning, many commuters kept the headlights of their vehicles on. (HT)

Air quality across Uttar Pradesh has plummeted to the ‘severe’ category over the past 24 hours, with the day temperatures falling and the north-western winds bringing in particulate pollutants, said weather experts on Wednesday.

Major cities, including state capital Lucknow, remained covered in haze as the air quality index (AQI) crossed the 400-mark (severe category). The average AQI in Talkatora area of Lucknow was recorded at 406 (severe) on Wednesday morning, while that in Gomti Nagar was 356 (very poor) -- the worst AQI recorded this month in the area.

Meanwhile, AQI of cities in western UP remained the worst across the country.

Ghaziabad, bordering national capital Delhi, was the most polluted in India with an AQI of 478 (severe) recorded at 4pm by the Central Pollution Control Board. AQIs in other cities of the region were nearly as bad -- 430 in Meerut, 428 in Muzaffarnagar, 435 in Hapur, 461 in Baghpat and 438 in Greater Noida.

Environmentalist Surendra Singh said the drop in air quality was a result of the drop in day temperatures. “On an average, day temperatures have dipped by 3 degree Celsius across UP. The drop in temperature has made the air dense, affecting dispersal of pollutants and making air quality bad. Increase in humidity and lack of air flow has also added to the problem,” he said.

According to the data available, average humidity in Lucknow was recorded at 80%, with almost no air movement. Similar conditions prevailed in the western part of the state too.

Experts said that another aspect that was adding to the trouble was crop stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and some districts of western Uttar Pradesh.

Data from the Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) of the USA’s NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) shows active fire concentrated in regions of Punjab and west Haryana, and dispersed fires in western UP districts of Bulandshahr, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat and Bijnor over the past 24 hours.

Regional officer of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Ram Karan, said the pollutants caused by these fires were slowly moving eastward, being carried as far as central UP. “The pollutants from stubble burning are also contributing to the deteriorating air quality in Lucknow and nearby districts. In Lucknow, industrial activity, construction work, traffic and open fires are further aggravating the problem,” he said.

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