Local sources behind high pollution in north, east Delhi
- Jai Prakash, north Delhi mayor, said that all efforts of the municipal agencies this winter were focused to control local pollution sources.
Road dust, open garbage burning and high vehicular movement on internal roads were the primary culprits that pushed the air quality in east and north Delhi to be the worst this winter season, residents of the area said.
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Wednesday had released a winter analysis of air quality in Delhi and NCR this winter compared to the previous years. The analysis highlighted that east and north Delhi recorded the worst levels of PM 2.5 (ultrafine particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 micrometres), while air quality monitoring stations in west Delhi were relatively cleaner compared to the rest of the city.
Residents and business owners in north Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, which recorded the worst air quality in the city with a seasonal average of 256μg/m3, said that road dust was a primary factor in adding to the pollution levels here.
Ramesh Thakral, a shop owner near the Jahangirpuri metro station, said that broken roads and constant movement of vehicles has turned the area into a perpetual dust bowl. The situation worsens during winters, he said.
“The roads are so riddled with potholes; how will you even ply mechanical sweepers here? Garbage here lies around for days before it is picked up. Since it is not picked up regularly, some residents and shop owners set it on fire at night. If you come here at night you can see smoke billowing from piles of garbage,” Thakral said.
Open burning and abandoned old vehicles have also become a prominent source of pollution in east Delhi. Residents complained that despite strict order by government and municipal agencies, garbage and dried leave are often set on fire in areas around Acharya Niketan, Laxmi Nagar, Pandav Nagar, Patparganj and Krishna Nagar. Since these incidents are often reported from residential neighbourhoods that are away from the main roads, these instances seldom come to the notice of authorities, residents said.
Sehmat Alam, general secretary of joint residents’ welfare association of Pandav Nagar lane eight, nine and ten, said that local construction work carried out by residents without following the pollution norms is also a problem.
“Every year when construction is stopped you can see piles of cement and construction debris lying around on roads, which are then blown around by vehicles moving,” he said.
CSE in its analysis said that wide local variations among monitoring locations indicated higher impact of local pollution and micro-climate.
“This analysis has helped us understand the regional patterns as well as the local variations. Even though there is considerable regional variation, peak pollution episodes increased and synchronised within the region. The uneven rise across monitoring locations, even contiguous locations, brings out the impact of local pollution,” said Avikal Somvanshi, programme manager in CSE’s urban lab team of the sustainable cities programme.
Jai Prakash, north Delhi mayor, said that all efforts of the municipal agencies this winter were focused to control local pollution sources.
“We ensured that mechanical sweepers were deployed in all areas under our jurisdiction and a close watch was also kept on controlling garbage burning and dumping cases. We were also deploying water sprinklers to settle local dust,” he said.