Delhi had 7 of India’s 10 bad air hot spots last year: Report
In 2020, seven of India’s 10 most polluted areas were in Delhi, data from a recently launched air quality dashboard shows.
The Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Standards (CAAQMS) dashboard also shows that on January 23, ITO in Central Delhi was the most polluted locality in the country by a significant distance. At the ITO intersection, one of the busiest in the Capital, the 24-hour PM2.5 (ultrafine particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 micrometres) average on Sunday was recorded 529ug/m3.
In comparison North Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, which occupied the second place on the list, recorded a PM2.5 reading of 261ug/m3.
The CAAQMS dashboard, which is a part of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) tracker project, has been developed by Mumbai firm Respirer Living Sciences and Carbon Copy as a one-stop platform to collate pollution data and make available seasonal, monthly and annual emission averages of cities across the country.
The national list of most polluted localities in 2020 according to this dashboard was topped by Sidhu Kanhu Indoor Stadium in West Bengal, where the average PM2.5 levels were 140ug/m3. Jahangirpuri occupied the second spot here as well, with PM2.5 levels around 131ug/m3 through the year.
This list also included, in order, Bawana, Rohini, Mundka, Anand Vihar, Nehru Nagar, and Vivek Vihar (See Chart 1).
This year too, initial trends have not been promising for Delhi. The list of 10 most polluted localities of India this year, according to the average PM2.5 recordings of 2021 (between January 1 and January 24), featured eight areas from Delhi, with Ashok Vihar recording the worst PM2.5 levels, followed by RK Puram and Jahangirpuri.
Apart from localities in Delhi, areas from other states that have featured in the list are Talkatora District Industries Centre in Lucknow (124ug/m3), which was ranked seventh and Loni in Ghaziabad, which stood eighth (123ug/m3) (See Chart 2).
The dashboard’s list of 10 most polluted areas in the past 24 hours had areas from Delhi occupying the first four stops.
ITO, which had the worst PM2.5 levels between January 23 and 24, is followed by Jahangirpuri, Anand Vihar and Wazirpur. Okhla Phase 2 and Nehru Nagar held the sixth and seventh spots in the list, while Vivek Vihar and Patparganj were ninth and tenth, respectively.
Experts said such intense monitoring was needed to design pollution control plans at macro and micro levels. SN Tripathi, head of the civil engineering department at IIT-Kanpur, said since NCAP started in 2019, said India is now a fifth of its way through the plan’s targets, and it is important to increase emission monitoring. “It is a five-year plan, with a target to reduce PM2.5 and PM10 by 20-30% by 2024. The measures being taken now are aimed to increase accountability,” Tripathi said.
Ronak Sutaria CEO, Respirer Living Sciences, said, “The dashboard has allowed transparency for not just PM2.5 and PM10 data, but also for harmful gases such as Nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone (O3) and carbon monoxide (CO).”
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- Erection of a 40-km-long electric fence around the part of the reserve known most for man-animal encounters has also helped in containing the incidents.
- The road, HT learned, has been constructed by a contractor to facilitate the installation of new sewer lines, for which wastewater from existing sewers is being pumped out in the salt lakes.
- No significant change in temperatures is likely over most parts of northwest, west and central India during the next 24 hours.