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Monday, Dec 16, 2019

Chandigarh’s air quality takes turn for the worse

AQI rose sharply from 224 on Monday to 274 on Tuesday, as recorded at the continuous ambient air quality monitoring station in Sector 25.

chandigarh Updated: Nov 13, 2019 01:23 IST
Rajanbir Singh
Rajanbir Singh
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

City’s Air Quality Index (AQI) worsened on Tuesday, rising sharply to 274 from 224 on Monday, as recorded at the continuous ambient air quality monitoring station in Sector 25.

On Monday, the air quality had returned to the poor category after staying satisfactory or moderate since November 7. The rains last week had helped improve the air quality, but it was likely to become poorer in the next couple of days, officials at the station said.

On why this happened, Surender Paul, director, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Chandigarh, said the AQI had worsened throughout the region due to the weather. “Currently, the effect of north-westerly winds has gone down in the city, and an anticyclonic movement has formed an airlock in the air, preventing vertical movement and mixing of air. This has caused the pollutants to pile up,” he explained.

IMD officials said the poor air quality had also led to a fall in visibility. “Visibility stayed between 2 to 3 kilometres on Tuesday. The pollutants, along with high humidity in the air, formed a haze in the city during morning and evening hours. Similar haze was observed in the city after Diwali,” they said.

‘STUBBLE BURNING THE CULPRIT’

TC Nautiyal, member secretary, Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC), said, “It is concerning that the atmospheric particulate matter (PM) levels are rising again. The AQI had improved greatly after the rain on November 7. However, if it has dropped again, it means stubble burning hasn’t stopped. The high level of PM2.5 (PM with diameter less than 2.5 micrometres) points towards this.”

As per the Sector 25 monitoring station, PM2.5 concentration was recorded at 320 micrometres per metre cube of air on Monday. On Diwali, it had peaked to 341.

RELIEF FROM FRIDAY

As per Paul, relief isn’t likely till Friday. “A weak Western Disturbance is approaching the region. Though it is unlikely to bring any rain, it will slightly improve the wind speed, leading to dispersion of pollutants,” Paul said, adding that windspeeds can reach up to 20km/h with cloudy skies during this duration.