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Gurugram’s air quality slips, but likely to improve with fresh spell of rain

On Sunday, August 5, the daily average measure of PM2.5 pollutants in Gurugram stood at 151.56ug/m3, with the CPCB’s daily Air Quality Index ranking the city’s air ‘very poor’, with a score of 321.

gurgaon Updated: Aug 07, 2018 12:55 IST
Prayag Arora-Desai
Prayag Arora-Desai
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Gurugram,Gurugram's air quality,CPCB
A smoky haze hung over the IFFCO Chowk flyover in Gurugram on Sunday, August 5, 2018.(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)

After spending 20 days within the safe limit in July, the daily average measure of PM2.5 pollutants in Gurugram shot up to 126.77ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air) on August 3. This is more than twice the daily average safe limit of 60ug/m3, as per the National Ambient Air Quality Standards of the Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB).

On Sunday, the daily average measure of PM2.5 pollutants in Gurugram stood at 151.56ug/m3, with the CPCB’s daily Air Quality Index ranking the city’s air ‘very poor’, with a score of 321.

According to Sachin Panwar, an independent air quality consultant in Gurugram, the spike in the PM2.5 levels can be attributed to the recent dust storm in Oman. Winds blowing towards the Indian landmass from the Middle East have carried these particles into Delhi-NCR. “The particles are unable to leave the area because wind speeds nowadays are quite low,” said Panwar, adding that the dust storm in Oman was a climatic anomaly, owing to the effect of climate change on global wind patterns.

In August so far, the CPCB’s National Air Quality Index has ranked Gurugram’s air ‘very poor’ on two days — August 3 and 5. The daily average reading of PM2.5 on August 3 was 173.74ug/m3, the highest since June, when anti-cyclonic, dust-raising winds from Rajasthan passed through Gurugram on their way to New Delhi, causing PM2.5 concentrations to touch as much as 572.93ug/m3, especially on June 13.

However, the present situation is expected to resolve itself within a day or two, once the region receives its next spell of rain. “We are not in the middle of an emergency thanks to the monsoon. The high amount of humidity is making the particles heavier and allowing them to settle. We are expecting another spell of rain in the next day or two, and that should bring down the level of atmospheric pollutants,” Panwar added.

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On Sunday, the daily average measure of PM2.5 pollutants in Gurugram stood at 151.56ug/m3, with the CPCB’s daily Air Quality Index ranking the city’s air ‘very poor’, with a score of 321
Sachin Panwar, an independent air quality consultant in Gurugram, said the spike in the PM2.5 levels can be attributed to the recent dust storm in Oman. Winds blowing towards the Indian landmass from the Middle East have carried these particles into Delhi-NCR
In August so far, the CPCB’s National Air Quality Index has ranked Gurugram’s air ‘very poor’ on two days — August 3 and 5. Once the monsoon retreats, the air quality in the city is likely to drop further.
Source: CPCB

Officials from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board were unavailable for comment on Sunday. However, a sub-divisional officer said, “There is nothing wrong with the air these days. Things will get worse only in October.”

The air quality in Delhi-NCR is expected to deteriorate rapidly towards the end of September, once the monsoon retreats. Seasonal changes in atmospheric temperature, a drop in humidity, and a change in wind patterns around that time will reduce the upward movement of air particles, causing them to settle at shorter mixing heights. 

Earlier, in June, air quality in Gurugram deteriorated, prompting the district administration to prohibit all construction activity in the city.

Taking note of the dip in air quality, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) had advised the deputy commissioners of 14 NCR districts in Haryana to tackle rising pollution by adopting measures such as curbing waste incineration,, sprinkling water to help particulate matter settle, identifying roads where excessive dust is being kicked up, increasing mechanised cleaning of roads and clamping down on the preparation of concrete and tar for the next 48 hours.

Gurugram’s deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh was quoted as saying that the CPCB’S Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) will be implemented if the level of pollutants continued to remain in the more than severe category.

PM2.5 continues to be the primary air pollutant in Gurugram, according to the CPCB.

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 13:09 IST