Gurgaon’s air marked ‘good’, but data on major pollutants not available for a week
A Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) official said that the air quality monitoring station at Rajiv Gandhi is unable to display data on major pollutants owing to a technical issuegurgaon Updated: Jul 21, 2017 23:06 IST
Though Gurgaon’s air quality has been marked ‘good’ for the first time in seven months, the data on the basis of which the assessment was made may not be entirely reliable.
It turns out that the data on the level of PM 2.5, a key constituent of air pollution, for the last seven days is not available. The daily average reading put out by the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB’s) air quality index daily average in Gurgaon has only been displaying the city’s Ozone (O3) data over the last week.
Since July 14, the air quality index hasn’t put out data on the extent of major air pollutants that could present a clearer picture on the city’s air quality.
“The ambient air quality monitoring station located at Rajiv Chowk has not been displaying data on major air pollutants owing to some technical issues. We are trying to fix it. However, their city’s air quality has shown some improvement in the light of the recent monsoon showers. The data we received in the first week of July suggests as much,” JB Sharma, regional officer, HSPCB, said.
While the city is in line to get three ambient air quality monitoring stations, the only one currently in operation has, of late, not been putting the necessary data that not only helps the HSPCB assess the city’s air quality but also adopt measures to bring down the level of pollutants in the atmosphere as mandated by the Supreme Court.
In fact, experts said that the city’s air quality could actually be a lot worse than what the data suggests. “Regular and timely updates on Gurgaon’s PM 2.5 level is critical to assessing the city’s air quality. The air quality had, of late, reached alarming levels and on July 6, the Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority had asked the pollution control board to take corrective measures. However, without timely and accurate data, such measures cannot be taken,” Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy and head of the air pollution and clean transportation programme, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said.
Experts said that timely count of three major pollutants — NO2, PM 10 and PM 2.5 — are critical for the air quality index (AQI) to put out accurate pollution data.
The index recently marked the city’s air quality as ‘good’ on a scale of 0-100, moderate on a scale of 101- 200 and poor on a scale of 201-300.
The index for individual pollutants at a monitoring location are calculated as per its 24-hour average concentration value (8-hour cycle in case of CO and Ozone) and health breakpoint concentration range. Overall, AQI is calculated only if data of a minimum of three pollutants is available.
PM2.5 is suspended particulate matter, which is 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter and a major component of what constitutes air pollution. As it is very fine, it can settle in the lungs and lead to asthma and other respiratory problems.
According to the European Environmental Agency (EEA), high level of PM2.5 is estimated to reduce life expectancy in the European Union by more than eight months. The permissible limit of PM 2.5 is 60 µg/m³.