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Pollution body says ‘error’ in RK Puram figures, air quality not that bad

According to DPCC, the most polluted corner on Diwali night was Anand Vihar, where PM 2.5 was recorded at 888µg/m³ at 1am while PM10 was 1684 µg/m³ at 2am.

delhi Updated: Oct 31, 2016 15:40 IST
Ritam Halder
Ritam Halder
Hindustan Times
Delhi Pollution,Delhi Pollution Control Committee,Pollution in RK Puram
Delhi Pollution Control Committee official said a mechanical error showed PM 10 readings above 4,200µg/m³ at RK Puram. The maximum reading was 1,442µg/m³ at 1am.(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Photo)

The air quality in the Capital is bad but not that bad, claims Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

HT had earlier reported that according to real time ambient air quality data of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, PM10 readings had gone up by over 42 times from the national ambiance air quality standard at RK Puram on Diwali night. At 10.55pm, PM10 was recorded at 4,273 µg/m³. PM2.5 also touched an alarming high at 748µg/m³ at 2.30am here.

A DPCC official, however, said it was a mechanical error which showed the readings above 4,200µg/m³ at RK Puram. “The maximum PM10 reading was recorded at 1am here and it touched 1,442µg/m³. PM2.5, however, touched 748µg/m³,” he said.

According to DPCC, the most polluted corner on Diwali night was Anand Vihar, where PM 2.5 was recorded at 888µg/m³ at 1am while PM10 was 1684 µg/m³ at 2am.

The prescribed standards of PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 respectively, and anything beyond that can harm the respiratory system as the ultra fine particulates can embed deep into the lungs and also enter the bloodstream.

Read: ‘Yay, we’re beating Beijing’: Delhi residents tweet their air pollution woes

A scientist at the Centre’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said it was difficult for PM10 readings to go up to 5,000. “According to our monitoring, PM10 went up to 2,500 instant values in many areas. However, as the DPCC values are instant and standards are for 24 hours, it is not fair to compare them,” Gufran Beig, project director, SAFAR, told HT.

Air quality is classified as “very poor” if the AQI ranges from 301 to 400. The pollution level becomes severe if AQI is higher up to 500.

According to him, on Monday morning, the 24-hour rolling average of PM10 and PM2.5 were 700 and 450 respectively. “The AQI overall across the city is 500+ and will remain similar even on Tuesday. Low windspeed and temperature are the reasons behind this,” Beig said.

Read: Delhi smothered by smog: Where’s the city government?

According to SAFAR’s special Diwali forecast, pollution during this year’s Diwali was expected to be worse than 2014 and 2015 due to a combination of adverse meteorogical factors like slow wind speed and moisture in the air, a major hindrance in the dispersion of suspended pollutants.

SAFAR has advised people to avoid all outdoor physical activity. People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low when air quality turns “severe”, it said. People with existing heart or lung diseases such as asthma, congestive heart disease, or ischemic heart disease should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion when the air quality is “very poor”.

First Published: Oct 31, 2016 15:28 IST