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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Air quality starts deteriorating, slips to poor in Noida

cities Updated: Oct 12, 2019 19:40 IST
Kushagra Dixit
Kushagra Dixit

Noida: Two days after the monsoon retreated from states neighbouring Delhi-NCR, thereby changing the wind directions and trapping the pollutants in NCR, the air quality of Noida and adjoining regions deteriorated to ‘poor’ levels and is likely to touch ‘very-poor’ levels by Sunday, the weather monitoring agencies have predicted.

The particle pollutants PM2.5 and PM10 —particles in the air with a diameter less than 2.5 and 10 microns, respectively, have already started touching rising to the ‘very-poor’ category during morning hours across all nine pollution monitoring stations in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. On Saturday, the particle pollutants in certain areas of Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad reached ‘severe’ levels.

The sudden drop is being attributed to the low ventilation factor and the stubble burning in neighboring Punjab and Haryana.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the south-west monsoon was withdrawn since October 9, after which the north-westerly winds became the predominant, bringing with it the smoke from Punjab and Haryana where the stubble burning has increased over the week.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the average PM2.5 concentration in Noida on Saturday was 270Ugm3 (micrograms per cubic meters), which on Sunday is likely to touch 302 Ugm3.

According to SAFAR, the increasing biomass fire activities in Punjab and Haryana will now start influencing the region’s air quality. However, low mixing height and stagnant wind conditions are also to be blamed.

“Since the monsoon has just withdrawn, the lower surface winds are very low which is affecting the ventilation factor in the region due to which the pollutants are getting trapped. While the contribution from stubble burning is still not much, the locally generated pollutants and outside sources are getting trapped across Delhi and NCR, which is affecting the air quality and will worsen in days to come,” Gufran Beig, director, SAFAR, said.

Officials in the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said while there are no curbs or restriction on diesel generator (DG) sets yet, restrictions and measures to control the pollution will come into effect in accordance with the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

“If the air quality drops further, we will go ahead with the restriction and measures under GRAP. We have instructed our officials and are actively conducting field visits to check violations such as garbage burning,” Anil Kumar Singh, regional officer, UPPCB, said.

On Saturday, Sector 116 in Noida saw the worse air quality with PM2.5 levels touching 422Ugm3, or ‘severe’ levels during the morning hours.

Greater Noida’s Knowledge Park-5 monitoring station saw ‘severe’ PM10 level at 467 Ugm3, from Friday 8pm to Saturday 9am. In Ghaziabad’s Vasundhara area, the PM10 level reached 404Ugm3 during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, the air quality Index (AQI), on a scale of 0 to 500 with 0 being the least polluted and 500 the most, for all four monitoring station in Noida was 252, against 262 a day earlier.

The AQI in Greater Noida on Saturday was 286 against 267 a day before, both in the ‘poor’ category. The Ghaziabad’s AQI was 263 on Saturday against 264 a day before.

As per the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) advisory, the air quality will worsen from October 12 onwards due to the weather conditions.

First Published: Oct 12, 2019 19:40 IST

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