Low wind speed, dip in temperature push Gurugram pollution into ‘severe’ category

The Haryana Pollution Control Board said the Commission of Air Quality Management met on Friday to discuss measures to combat the situation and is likely to announce certain measures today
All four air quality monitoring stations in Gurugram recorded “severe” air quality on Friday--the TERI Gram station recorded an AQI reading of 430, the Gwal Pahari station recorded 430, the Vikas Sadan station near mini-secretariat recorded 452, and the Sector 51 station recorded 447. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
All four air quality monitoring stations in Gurugram recorded “severe” air quality on Friday--the TERI Gram station recorded an AQI reading of 430, the Gwal Pahari station recorded 430, the Vikas Sadan station near mini-secretariat recorded 452, and the Sector 51 station recorded 447. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Published on Nov 12, 2021 11:48 PM IST
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A combination of low wind speed, dip in temperature and farm fires led to a steep rise in pollutants on Friday, with Gurugram recording an Air Quality Index (AQI) reading of 448 in the “severe” category. This is a deterioration from an AQI reading of 378 in the “very poor” category a day before, according to official data.

In fact, all four air quality monitoring stations in Gurugram recorded “severe” air quality on Friday--the TERI Gram station recorded an AQI reading of 430, the Gwal Pahari station recorded 430, the Vikas Sadan station near mini-secretariat recorded 452, and the Sector 51 station recorded 447.

An AQI reading between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

Gurugram’s air quality plummetted into the “very poor” AQI on Diwali, which was celebrated on November 4, and the day after. For three consecutive days after, Gurugram had a “severe” AQI, which implies that the air quality is hazardous and may cause respiratory effects even to healthy people and serious health impacts to people with lung or heart diseases. Gurugram’s air improved slightly to “very poor” on November 9, and has now deteriorated again into the “severe” category.

The Haryana Pollution Control Board said the Commission of Air Quality Management met on Friday to discuss measures to combat the situation and is likely to announce certain measures on Saturday. Officials also said that all steps recommended to combat “severe” air pollution are already in effect and they are keeping a watch on the situation.

The Haryana Pollution Control Board said that they have implemented Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) measures and all steps required to meet the “severe” AQI have been put in place. “A meeting on the emerging situation was held on Friday and additional measures to curb pollution are likely to be announced soon,” said S Narayanan, member-secretary, Haryana Pollution Control Board.

Even as government officials mulled different strategies to manage the pollution situation, experts on Friday said that people in Delhi-NCR were facing an air emergency and the situation was likely to deteriorate further as pollutants were not going to dissipate soon.

“The wind is very calm and the temperature has also dipped, while the number of farm fires has increased this year as compared to last two years. A few days ago, the situation had relatively improved because of a depression in the Bay of Bengal. The wind had caused a dissipation of pollutants. But for the next 15 to 20 days, no change in weather is likely, which will make things worse,” said Dr Anurani Sharma, associate professor, Teri School of Advanced Studies.

According to the experts, the low temperature and lack of wind create an inversion layer resulting in the non-dissipation of pollutants, which remain stagnant within the atmospheric boundary layer. “This is what is happening in Delhi-NCR and there is likely to be no let-up in pollution. To improve the situation, the government should work on reducing local-level pollution,” said Dr Sharma.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the temperature is likely to dip further as snowy winds from northernmost states like Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir reach the plains. On Friday, the maximum temperature of Gurugram was 28 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature was 13.4 degrees Celsius.

Air quality experts, meanwhile, said that immediate steps were required to curb vehicular, construction-related, and industrial pollution. “A substantial amount of pollution in Delhi-NCR is caused by vehicles and it is time emergency measures were taken to reduce it. Construction sites must be inspected and all materials covered. Fuels which are not clean should not be allowed to be used by industries,” said Anumita Roy Choudhary, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment.

She also called upon people to refrain from waste burning and ensure that they remain indoors and don’t get exposed to pollutants. “The government must take immediate measures in Delhi and other NCR districts,” she said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Abhishek Behl is principal correspondent, Hindustan Times in Gurgaon Bureau. He covers infrastructure, planning and civic agencies in the city. He has been covering Gurgaon as correspondent for the last 10 years, and has written extensively on the city.

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