Dense smog engulfs Gurgaon, schools closed on Monday
After a slight improvement of the air quality on Saturday, the conditions deteriorated again on Sunday as an air quality index (AQI) of 460 was recorded, as per data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).gurgaon Updated: Nov 12, 2017 22:22 IST
The district administration announced that all government and private schools in the city will remain closed on November 13, Monday, due to continuous smog over the last 48 hours. After a slight improvement of the air quality on Saturday, the conditions deteriorated again on Sunday as an air quality index (AQI) of 460 was recorded, as per data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The air quality of the city continued to be ‘severe,’ despite the implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) by the district administration.
Gurgaon’s air has been marked ‘severe’ for the last five days and no action has been taken to turn the situation around, residents alleged. The AQI on Saturday had improved to 436 from 485 on Friday.
On Sunday, residents woke up to a smoggy day and commuters had a tough time travelling during the morning and evening hours, as the visibility was less than 50 metres. Many vehicles had to switch on their fog lights while travelling at 7am.
“It was difficult to drive from Delhi to Gurgaon. As it was a Sunday, the traffic was less, but because of low visibility, I found it hard to make my way to Gurgaon,” Sumit Arora, a visitor at the Aravalli Biodiversity Park, Gurgaon, said.
Experts attributed the worsening air quality to the low wind speed of 0.66 m/s on Sunday, down from 0.92 m/s on Saturday.
“The concentrations of pollutants are unable to get dispersed because of low wind speed. However, as the region is predicted to witness rainfall on Wednesday and Thursday, the situation is expected to improve,” JB Sharma, regional officer, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), said.
Besides the weather, the ban on construction activities in the city till November 14 will also help the air quality to improve, he added.
Residents of as many as 15 high-rise societies in the city on Sunday decided to launch a campaign on November 14, to reach out to market areas and to spread awareness among the citizens regarding the grim situation.
“Incidents of waste burning are witnessed at Gold Course Extension, Sohna Road and other parts of the city. There are several instances in which construction norms are being violated but these issues are not being addressed properly. GRAP is not being implemented in spirit,” Ruchika Sethi, a resident of Nirvana Country, Sector 50, said.
Another resident, Parikshit Sharma, a resident of Vakita City, Sohna Road, said, “We could smell the pollutants in the air. We have even found the MCG staff burning the waste despite knowing the situation.”
Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) officials also accepted that the allegation about their staff burning waste openly is true.
“We are aware that a few of our staff members are involved in burning waste in the city. We will take action against them,” Sudhir Chauhan, senior town planner (STP), MCG.