Ghaziabad most polluted city in country for second consecutive day
The city recorded an AQI of 373 and 384 on Thursday and Friday respectively under the ‘very poor’ category. The CPCB report also showed that Noida city stood as the second most polluted with an AQI of 371, also under the ‘very poor’ category, on Friday
Ghaziabad city for the second consecutive day on Friday emerged as the most polluted city across the country as per the air quality index (AQI) of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The city recorded an AQI of 373 and 384 on Thursday and Friday respectively under the ‘very poor’ category. The CPCB report also showed that Noida city stood as the second most polluted with an AQI of 371, also under the ‘very poor’ category, on Friday.
The officials of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said that the AQI is likely to be similar for the next couple of days due to low wind speed.
An AQI reading between zero 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’.
“The low wind speed is not allowing the dispersal of pollutants and this is deteriorating the air quality. The instance of stubble burning and other meteorological factors, including local factors, have contributed to the deterioration in the air quality. The monitoring stations of Vasundhara and Indirapuram recorded PM10, which has resulted due to dust,” said Utsav Sharma, UPPCB regional officer, Ghaziabad.
“The Sanjay Nagar monitoring station recorded PM2.5 as the primary pollutant due to vehicular emission. If the wind speed does not pick up, the situation is likely to remain similar for the next couple of days. We are waiting for the next forecast which will be released by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM). There is also a spike observed in other areas of western UP,” Sharma added.
The official data of the UPPCB for 30 days prior to Diwali festival indicates that Ghaziabad city’s AQI was better with a 30-day average of 161. The lower pollutants were also a result of the continued long spell of rains which started after the Dussehra festival.
The official records indicate that Ghaziabad city’s average AQI for four days prior to Diwali stood at 281, while the average AQI for next four days (including the Diwali day) stood at 303.
“The high AQI in Noida is primarily due to meteorological factors. Our strict enforcement at the ground level is already in place,” said Praveen Kumar, regional officer at UPPCB, Noida.
The forecast by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar) stated on Friday that the local surface winds are in range of 6-8 kilometres per hour (kmph) with maximum temperature of 32 degrees Celsius and minimum of 14-15 degrees Celsius and likely to hover around the same range for the next three days, causing weak dispersal of pollutants.
“Strong wind blowing from the northwest direction, which is a stubble burning area, is likely to transport pollutants to Delhi. Air quality is likely to deteriorate, but remain under the ‘very poor’ category for the next three days,” the Safar forecast added.
Experts said that people have started to feel the effects of the sudden rise in air pollution.
“Many people have started to face issues such as difficulty in breathing and burning sensation in the eyes as a result of the steep rise in pollution. There are several factors such as instances of stubble burning, vehicular and industrial emission, construction works etc., which have aided pollution. The bursting of crackers during Diwali is also a factor. Long exposure to pollution can also increase chances of asthma. It is advisable to wear a multi-layered mask while moving out,” said Dr BP Tyagi, senior ENT specialist at Harsh ENT Hospital, Raj Nagar.
The environmentalists said that the meteorological factors as well as external and internal factors have impacted the AQI in Ghaziabad city.
“The increased industrial production, high volume of traffic during the festival season and low wind speed, besides meteorological factors have started to impact the AQI. Locally, unpaved roads and traffic snarls have also contributed to the rise in pollution,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city-based environmentalist.
Ghaziabad is among the 16 “non-attainment” cities in the state of UP and its pollution levels generally remain on the higher side during the onset of winter. Cities are declared “non-attainment” if they do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter (PM10) or nitrogen dioxide (No2) over a period of five years.
Earlier in April, the city ranked as the second-most polluted city in the world after Bhiwadi in Rajasthan in the World Air Quality Report-2021. The annual report, prepared by Switzerland-based organisation IQAir, surveyed 6,475 cities across the world.