City air continues to remain toxic
Air quality in the city remained in the “very poor” category of the air quality index (AQI) for the second consecutive day on Friday, with 367 on the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) AQI bulletin as against 364 the day prior. While the AQI in Gurugram remained better than most other major NCR cities, experts warned that the AQI is likely to be higher than official figures, given the fact that two of the city’s four air quality monitors did not reflect any pollution data on Friday.
Confirming this, Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, Haryana Pollution State Control Board(HSPCB), said, “Data from two monitors, one near the Gurugram Faridabad Road and another in Sector 51, would not have been considered in Friday’s AQI. The monitors are working, but due to some connectivity issue they have did not transmit any data to the central server. I will have it checked out.”
Meanwhile, air quality around the HSPCB’s monitoring station in Vikas Sadan recorded “severe” air, with an AQI reading of 420 as of 4pm, while another on the Gurugram-Faridabad Road recorded an AQI of 343 (in the very poor category), as of 4pm on Friday. “If you average these out, you get an AQI in the upper end of the very poor category. But this is not a very accurate picture. Other, privately operated monitors across the city have also recorded severe air quality,” said Sachin Panwar, a city-based independent air quality scientist.
Data from private monitors shows that this was indeed the case. According to one monitor located in Sector 57, the level of PM2.5 on Friday touched as much as 470ug/m3 (in the upper end of the severe category), while another in Sector 24 recorded PM2.5 levels as high as 456ug/m3. Yet another privately operated monitor in Sector 43 saw PM2.5 levels as high as 436ug/m3 at 12pm on Friday.
As per the early air quality warning system for Delhi-NCR,”Air quality is likely to improve marginally but remain in Severe category on 16.01.2021 and 17.01.2021. The slow winds and ventilation conditions are extremely unfavourable for dispersion of pollutants which will lead to deterioration in air quality.”
Meanwhile, the minimum temperature in Gurugram rose considerably to settle at 9 degrees Celsius on Friday morning, up from 4.9 degrees Celsius a day prior. The maximum temperature also increased slightly, touching 19 degrees Celsius, up from 18.2degrees Celsius a day prior, according to data from the IMD’s nearest weather station in Delhi’s Palam area.
As per the IMD’s seven-day forecast for the region, shallow to moderate fog is expected to persist for another week, and may gradually dissipate as temperatures rise. The maximum temperature in Gurugram is expected to touch as much as 22 degrees Celsius in the next week, whereas the minimum is expected to hover around 10 degrees Celsius.