Noida tops the chart as the most polluted city in country
Noida was the most polluted city in the country on Friday as the poor ventilation led by unfavourable weather spiked the pollution levels over seven times higher the safe limits.
The city’s air, along with that of neighbouring Ghaziabad and Greater Noida, had turned severe on Thursday; again aided by calm wind and high local emissions. On Friday, Greater Noida was the third most polluted city in terms of air quality index (AQI) while Ghaziabad was the fourth most polluted.
According to the weather analyst, meteorological conditions are expected to remain unfavourable for the next two days at least, which will reflect on the cities’ deteriorating air quality as particle pollutants will remain trapped in the air due to lower temperatures and foggy conditions.
“The wind speed on Friday dropped further with peak speed reaching only 5 kmph. The weather condition may get even more harsh by Saturday, with mercury set to fall again. This would lead poor and unsupportive conditions for dispersion that may further increase the pollution levels,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head, regional weather forecasting centre, India Meteorological Department (IMD). He added that the weather conditions may improve by January 18 when the wind directions would change and temperature would increase.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality index (AQI) of Noida, on a scale of 0 to 500, on Friday was 475 –highest in the country – against 412 on Thursday.
The AQI of Greater Noida was 464 against 410 a day earlier. The AQI of Ghaziabad was 458 against 429 a day earlier.
An AQI between 101 and 200 is considered ‘moderate’, between 201 and 300 is ‘poor’, between 301 and 400 is considered ‘very-poor’ and above 400 is considered ‘severe’.
The major pollutant or PM2.5 in the region also spiked to over seven times the standards.
The average PM2.5 for Noida on Friday 425.37 microgrammes per cubic metres (µg/m³) against 321.39 µg/m³ on Thursday µg/m³. The average PM2.5 for Greater Noida was 402.37 µg/m³ against 277.97µg/m³ a day earlier. The PM2.5 level for Ghaziabad was 427.67 µg/m³ against 322.58µg/m³ a day earlier. The safe limit for PM2.5 is 60µg/m³.
According to the System of air quality and weather forecasting and research (SAFAR), the AQI is likely to deteriorate further with region seeing year’s first prolonged extreme air pollution event.
“Surface winds are calm and the minimum temperature is likely to fall further. The AQI is forecasted to deteriorate further and rapidly. SAFAR forecast reveals that AQI will continue to be in the severe category with increasing magnitude for 16-17 January. This is likely to be the first prolonged extreme air pollution event of 2021. Marginal improvement is expected only by 18th January but within the lower end of Severe to higher end of Very Poor. Relief is expected only thereafter which will be updated tomorrow,” said SAFAR on Friday.