Rising air pollution in Agra reduces Taj visibility

Experts and citizens blame it on the spurt in construction activity, increase in vehicular traffic, and stubble burning
The Taj Mahal visible faintly in the poor air quality of Agra.(Photo courtesy: Ranvijay Singh)
The Taj Mahal visible faintly in the poor air quality of Agra.(Photo courtesy: Ranvijay Singh)
Updated on Oct 28, 2020 05:00 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Agra | ByHT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha

Consistently rising air pollution in Agra has rendered the visibility of Taj Mahal poor in recent days.The air quality in Agra had been falling even before Dussehra but it deteriorated right after and the AQI (air quality index) rose above 312. On Sunday night, AQI was recorded at 367, and near the Taj, it was above 400.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) classification, air quality above 401 is considered severe; between 301-400 and between 201-300, it is considered very poor and poor, respectively. Kamal Kumar from CPCB said, “There has been an increase in construction activity, pipeline laying, road restoration by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), and the work for smart city is increasing particulate matter to various degrees and this has resulted in an AQI increase.”

The high concentration of particulate matter i.e. PM 2.5 and PM 10 is to be blamed. The PM2.5 (microgram per cubic metre) level was at 306 at noon on Monday with the minimum being 99 and maximum being 367. On an average, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) remained at 69, while sulphur dioxide (SO2) was at 15 microgram per cubic metre. According to the CPCB website, the average level of carbon monoxide remained at 49 while the average level of ozone was at 30.

“The harvesting of crops was a bit early this year and wind speed was low, leading to more suspension of particulate matter,” added Kumar.

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