Delhi pollution: Anti-smog gun tested in Anand Vihar as air quality slips into ‘very poor’ zone

Updated on Dec 20, 2017 01:53 PM IST

Around 8am on Wednesday. the Air Quality Index — a measure of pollutants in air — touched 332. The government ran a trial of ‘anti-smog guns’ in East Delhi’s Anand Vihar.

An anti-smog gun being tested at Anand Vihar in east Delhi.(Joydeep Thakur/HT Photo)
An anti-smog gun being tested at Anand Vihar in east Delhi.(Joydeep Thakur/HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

The Delhi government on Wednesday tested the “anti-smog gun”, a machine that sprays water into the air to bring down pollution level, in Anand Vihar area as the air quality in the Capital deteriorated over the past two days.

Pollution levels entered the “very poor” zone on Wednesday morning after a gap of more than a week and in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar the pollution level was in the severe zone with an AQI of 413.

The Air Quality Index — a measure of pollutants in the air — touched 332 in Delhi at around 8am on Wednesday. On a scale of 0-500, an AQI value of more than 301 is considered as very poor level. Tuesday’s average AQI was 300, which falls in the poor category.

Experts blamed the spike in pollution levels on rising humidity and low wind speed. SAFAR — India’s official pollution forecasting system — has claimed that pollution could spike further over the next three days.

Delhi’s AQI started improving since December 12 when it dropped to around 219 which falls under the poor category. On December 11 it was 361 in the very poor zone.

“The wind speed dropped from around 15km/hour on Sunday to around 4 km/hour on Wednesday,” said a senior official of the regional weather forecasting centre in New Delhi.

The humidity level was also high. On Wednesday morning the relative humidity level was above 80% which resulted in a misty morning.

“While on one hand, the moisture in the air is trapping the pollutants that are being emitted locally, the low-velocity winds are unable to flush them out. As a result, pollutants are accumulating and pollution in rising gradually,” said D Saha head of the air quality laboratory at the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The CPCB data showed that levels of both PM10 and PM2.5 — primary pollutants in Delhi’s air — have almost doubled since Sunday.

Experts said Delhi would need some strong winds from the north to flush out the pollutants. The northerly winds would also bring in the chill from snow-clad regions of north India.

“Presently, the winds are coming in from the west, as a result of which the minimum temperature is more than the climatic normal. On Wednesday the minimum temperature was 9.6, which is two degrees above the normal,” said a MeT official.

Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Monday had directed authorities during a meeting to ensure that municipal solid waste in the national capital is managed completely within 16 months.

“The plan should cover a time-frame not exceeding 16 months and also indicate the exact requirement of funds. The chief secretary has been asked to coordinate and finalise it,” the L-G office said in a statement.

Baijal also directed all three corporations to ensure that no methane fires occur at the three landfill sites and for this, they should take help of experts of the science and technology ministry, the statement said.

He asked all three municipal commissioners to procure requisite mechanical sweepers, litter pickers, water sprinklers within a stipulated time.

In the meeting, the Lt Governor was informed that Badarpur Thermal Power Station will be permanently closed by July 2018.

“It was also informed that at present over 800 acres ash pond is in O Zone and NHAI is lifting 600 MT ash daily. The L-G stressed for optimal future utilisation of this huge land parcel. Apart from this, measures to provision full gas for Bawana plant were also discussed,” it stated.

(With PTI inputs)


    Joydeep Thakur is a Special Correspondent based in Kolkata. He focuses on science, environment, wildlife, agriculture and other related issues.

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