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Gurgaon air pollution ‘severe’ for the first time since Diwali

The city’s air quality index, recorded by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), touched 459 on Wednesday, up from 368 on Monday.

gurgaon Updated: Nov 08, 2017 23:57 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
Poor air quality,Gurgaon,Delhi-NCR
The city’s civic bodies have received hundreds of complaints of waste burning, like here at Rajiv Chowk, Gurgaon. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

For the first time this year, since Diwali, Gurgaon’s air quality dropped alarmingly, with the air quality index (AQI) touching ‘severe' at 459. However, despite the city’s air turning more toxic by the day, the district administration is undecided on whether to implement the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Quizzed about the city’s worsening air quality on Wednesday, Gurgaon deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said that the district administration will take a call on Thursday on whether to hike parking fees in the city. The same is part of the steps suggested under GRAP.

The city’s air quality index, recorded by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), touched 459 on Wednesday, up from 368 on Monday.

Experts attributed the worsening air quality to low wind speed of 0.59 m/s on Wednesday, down from 0.66 m/s on Tuesday. Though smog in the city was not as much in the morning hours, the situation turned grave as the day wore on.

“Because of low wind speed, pollutants are getting trapped in the atmosphere and are dragging the city’s air quality down,” Shakti Singh, environmental engineer, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), said.

With a view to curb rising air pollution in the city, the district administration is vested with the authority to implement GRAP in line with the directives issued by the Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA).

“We might hike parking fee in the city. We will take a call on it on Thursday. It might take a while for the decision to come into effect,” Singh said.

With the city being blanketed by a thick layer of smog over the last two days and the civic bodies being flooded with complaints of waste burning from several areas, the district administration is under pressure to take swift action to control the level of air pollutants in the city.

“We are aware of waste burning in the city and the agencies concerned are acting against violators,” Singh said.

However, he said the administration isn’t toying with the idea of introducing the ‘odd-even scheme’ in the city, as it might throw the traffic situation haywire.“We are not planning on introducing the ‘odd-even scheme’. However, we are trying to implement other GRAP measures such sprinkling of water on the roads and checking if the environmental norms are being complied with at construction units,” he added.

The CPCB officials on Wednesday held an emergency meeting with their counterparts in the HSPCB and sought an explanation on what action it has taken to curb pollution in the city.

“The meeting was on ways to curb the increasing level of pollutants in the air in Delhi-NCR. All responsible bodies have asked to seek and submit ‘action taken’ reports by various departments,” JB Sharma, regional officer, HSPCB, said.

With the air quality at an alarming low, concerned residents have urged the government to act before it is too late.

“My 14-year-old son is suffering from asthma because of rising dust pollution in the city and unchecked burning of waste in the open. The poor air quality is taking a toll on our health,” Shivani Sharma, a resident of Nirvana Country in Sector 50, said.

Illa Gupta, a resident of Sector 57, said, “Even though smog has engulfed the city and visibility has dropped to alarming levels in several areas, waste burning continues unabated. This is a major concern.”

Harmful effects of Smog:

Smog can lead to allergies or aggravate already existing allergies and decrease in lung immunity

It might be instrumental in causing premature birth

It could lead to decrease in the lung function across all age groups

It might aggravate pre-existing lung and cardiac functions along with uncontrollable or chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath

Preventive measures:

People should avoid stepping outdoors and stop cycling, jogging or any other outdoor activity.

N95 masks should be used if it is absolutely necessary to step out.

Air purifying plants such as Aloe Vera, Ivy and Spider Plant should be planted at homes and offices.

To avoid indoor air pollution, all homes should have chimneys in the kitchen and exhaust fans in the bathroom.

Fruits rich in Vitamin C and Magnesium and foods rich in Omega Fatty Acids should be consumed

First Published: Nov 08, 2017 23:57 IST