New studies to find out month-wise pollutants and their sources in Delhi-NCR
These studies would be the first of their kind as the results would reveal the dominant pollutants in Delhi’s air and their sources for every month and every seasondelhi Updated: Jan 29, 2018 16:24 IST
In the wake of emerging facts about new sources of pollution such as dust storms from west Asia and salt particles from salt pans of Afghanistan, the Centre has taken up at least two new studies to find out the pollutants and their sources that have been troubling Delhi and its satellite towns.
These studies would be the first of their kind as the results would reveal the dominant pollutants in Delhi’s air and their sources for every month and every season. They would also take into consideration air pollution in the entire National Capital Region, for the first time, instead of focusing on Delhi alone unlike previous studies.
This would help fine tune the national capital’s fight against pollution and allow the governments to remain better prepared.
“The studies will focus on apportioning various pollutants and their sources according to seasons and months. This time we are doing it for NCR. It would be different from the earlier apportionment study done by IIT Kanpur for Delhi in 2015. One of the studies is almost complete and the findings are expected within the next three to four months,” said CK Mishra union environment secretary.
One of the studies, which is at its fag end, is being done by Delhi-based The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) and Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India. The other would be carried out by the Central Pollution Control Board starting next month.
“It would be a year-long study to find out the month-wise and season-wise sources of particulate matter in Delhi and its neighbouring NCR satellite towns. We will concentrate mostly on PM2.5 as it is one of the primary and most harmful pollutants,” said D Saha, head of the air quality laboratory of CPCB, India’s apex pollution monitoring and controlling agency.
A senior CPCB scientist said the study was planned after suggestions poured in from the Delhi government that a month-wise source apportionment should be carried out so that the government could be better prepared.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and health minister Satyendar Jain had attended the meeting held by the union environment secretary.
The previous studies had mentioned the broad categories such as dust pollution and pollution from biomass burning. The present study would try to fine-tune the categorization further and find out how much dust was coming from west Asia or the alluvial plains of the Indo-Gangetic plains and what proportion of pollution comes from stubble burning among others. Pollution from Diwali crackers would also be monitored.
“The CPCB study will characterise the pollutants, identify their sources, concentration, reactivity and even health impacts,” said Saha.
A recent study conducted by the CPCB and scientists from IIT Delhi had recently found that minute air-borne salt particles originating from large salt pans in Afghanistan are pushing up pollution levels in Delhi, mostly during the winter months when westerly and northwesterly winds flow.
Trans-boundary pollutants have earlier also been found to be pushing up pollution levels in Delhi.
In November, when pollution in Delhi breached emergency levels, scientists had blamed it on dust storms in west Asia. Strong high-altitude winds were bringing in pollutants from Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia where a dust storm had played havoc.