Area near Belvedere Tower Metro station most polluted spot in city: MCG dataUpdated: Oct 22, 2020, 23:13 IST
The locality surrounding the Belvedere Tower Rapid Metro station is the most polluted while the Tau Devi Lal Biodiversity Park is the least polluted of the 24 locations where air quality monitors are installed in the city, according to the data compiled by the air lab of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) from October 15 to 22.
The five most polluted spots across the city are Belvedere Tower Rapid Metro station, Sector 51, Vikas Sadan, Sector 42, and TERI Gram, while Tau Devi Lal Biodiversity Park, Rezang La Chowk, Shyam Chowk, Vatika Chowk and Ghoda Chowk are the five least polluted spots.
Gurugram recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 215 (‘poor’) on Thursday, a slight improvement from an AQI of 263 on Wednesday.
On October 15, the day the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) measures were implemented across the National Capital Region (NCR), the MCG opened an air lab at its Sector 42 office to monitor air quality index (AQI) of monitors installed across various points in the city.
MCG officials said that the rationale behind opening the lab was to spot sudden spikes in pollution levels, which could be caused by localised actions such as burning of waste and biomass, and large-scale constructions, as well as to inform their enforcement wing officials to scan the areas to curb such violations.
“Through constant supervision of AQI data at regular time intervals and analysing the same, we have been able to gauge a daily pattern of AQI. Thus, whenever there is a sudden spike in the AQI data of a location, especially during non-peak traffic hours, workers at the air lab relay this information to enforcement wing officials on the ground, who then scan the area to see if localised environmental pollutions are causing this rise and accordingly, start fining violators,” said Vinay Pratap Singh, commissioner, MCG.
The MCG has a five-member team working out of its Sector 42 air lab.
“While scrutinising data of Sector 51, the second-most polluted spot in the city — already identified by the pollution control board as a pollution hot spot due to biomass, waste and plastic burning being a common practice — we observed a sudden spike in pollution levels earlier this week. We immediately sent this message to enforcement wing officials on the ground, who were able to spot two areas where open burning of waste was being done and accordingly, doused the same,” an official with the air lab said.
Another rationale behind opening the air lab was for officials of MCG, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), to interpret which areas need the highest concentration of remedial measures and accordingly, allocate their resources for water sprinkling, dust clearing, and higher supervision of environmental pollutants.
“The air quality monitors have been installed at key traffic junctions to give us constant reading of localised air-quality index in such areas. We use the data, to interpret areas where remedial measures are needed to bring the AQI levels down,” said MD Sinha, additional chief executive officer, GMDA.
Citing an instance of allocating resources based on data, a senior MCG official said that due to a high concentration of vehicles at the Sirhaul toll, air pollution levels in areas located in close proximity tend to be high. The average AQI at Belvedere Tower Rapid Metro station, located near Sirhaul toll, is 294, the highest in the city.
“After realising that the air quality in areas such as Belvedere Tower is one of the worst, we have increased mechanised cleaning of stretches, sprinkling of water on trees and roads in such areas, besides increased supervision of environmental violations,” the MCG official cited above said.
Anup, a member of Belvedere Park RWA, said, “When we wake up in the morning, there is always a pungent smell outdoors, which is not just limited to the stubble burning season but something which is sporadically prevalent throughout. The high levels of pollution in the area could be caused due to high volume of vehicles on the Cyber City-Sirhaul toll stretch and from the industries located in nearby Udyog Vihar. However, these are just assumptions and officials need to do a proper survey of the area to find out the exact reasons.”
MCG officials also said that they use the air lab data on a periodic day basis to check for biggest rise and drop in localised pollution levels. Citing an example, an official said that the biggest drop in AQI in the city was at TERI Gram, from 298 on October 18 to 190 on October 22. Similarly, at Sector 14, the AQI rose from 116 on October 18 to 354 on October 22.
Sachin Panwar, a Gurugram-based air quality expert, who is currently an air-quality consultant with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), said that numerous factors determine the AQI at different locations within the city. “Factors such as wind speed, altitude, temperature fluctuation, biomass and waste burning, concentration of vehicles, vary from one place to another within a city. The same is true for Gurugram as well,” said Panwar.
Panwar said that these factors also play a major role in the overall AQI reading in areas such as Vatika Chowk, which, despite having a high concentration of vehicles from the national highway and state highways merging there, is far less polluted than the lush-green TERI Gram.
The average AQI reading at Teri Gram is 225, while the average AQI reading at Vatika Chowk is 86.
“The waste plant and rural areas where instances of biomass and waste burning are common are located in close proximity to TERI Gram which results in it having a high AQI reading. In contrast, Vatika Chowk, despite having a high volume of vehicles, does not have any waste processing plant or rural villages in close proximity. It is located in an open area and the wind speed tends to be high, which results in pollutants not settling there,” said Panwar.