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Check pollution levels, get health advisories at traffic intersections

You can now check the city’s air quality and also get health advisories while travelling on Delhi roads.

delhi Updated: Jan 18, 2018 22:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi pollution,Delhi news,AQI
Smog engulfs India Gate on Thursday. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

You can now check the city’s air quality and also get health advisories while travelling on Delhi roads.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India’s apex pollution monitoring agency, has tied up with the Delhi police to display hourly Air Quality Index (AQI) values and health advisories on LED panels at traffic intersections.

“AQI values and corresponding health advisories, along with the dominant pollutants are being displayed at major traffic intersections on LED screens. There are at least 50 such traffic intersections,” said Aditya Sharma, a scientist with the CPCB.

Some of the intersections include ITO, Lajpat Nagar, Sunder Nagar, Mathura Road, Sarai Kale Khan and Aurobindo Marg.

The initiative was launched last week on the suggestions of the Prime Minister’s Office. The Delhi government had planned a similar initiative earlier, but it never took off.

The panels display hourly AQI readings. AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’, and 401-500 ‘severe’. Each category comes with its own advisory. In case of ‘moderate’, it warns of breathing discomfort to people with lungs, asthma and heart diseases, while ‘severe’ means the air quality is so bad that it might affect even healthy people and seriously impact those suffering with breathing problems.

“The CPCB has not put up separate panels for this purpose; it is using the existing display boards of traffic police where short video clips on road safety are usually played,” said a senior official of the CPCB.

Talks are also on with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and some of the city’s hospitals so that their LED panels could also be used to alert the citizens of the ambient air quality and the health risks.

Such advisories become all the more important because Delhi registered an alarming increase in deaths due to respiratory ailments in 2016 — the year the national capital witnessed its worst pollution crisis in at least two decades, according to data released by the state government in December 2017.

Deaths linked to breathing disorders shot up by 40% in 2016 from 2015 — 6,502 to 9,149 — the highest jump from the previous year since 2010. Incidentally, both 2016 and 2010 had witnessed a sharp rise in dust pollution, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board. Dust is a major cause of pulmonary and cardiac ailments.

The NCR states have also been asked to take similar measures. “We have also directed the pollution control boards of NCR states to intensify pollution mitigation efforts in the region in view of the Asean summit starting from Friday”, said D. Saha, head of CPCB’s air lab.

Last month, a CPCB-led task force had recommended closure of all coal-based industries operating in the Delhi-NCR region for a fortnight, beginning January 15 to contain air pollution during the summit.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 21:53 IST