Gurugram’s air quality worsens as mercury dips
The city’s air quality continued to deteriorate on Wednesday, recording an air quality index (AQI) of 313, categorised as ‘very poor’, in the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) daily bulletin, which was slightly worse than Tuesday’s AQI.
The city had recorded a 24-hour average AQI of 306 (‘very poor’) on Tuesday and 258 (‘poor’) on Monday. As per the CPCB’s classification, AQI reading of 201 to 300 in categorised as ‘poor’, while an AQI reading from 301 to 400 in categorised ‘very poor’ and could lead to breathlessness and respiratory illness in case of prolonged exposure.
On Wednesday, two of the four air quality monitors installed in different locations of the city recorded ‘very poor’ air quality, while two recorded the quality as ‘poor’. The monitor at National Institute of Solar Energy in Gwal Pahari and Vikas Sadan recorded AQIs of 278 and 299, respectively. The TERI Gram monitor on Gurugram-Faridabad road had AQI of 324, in ‘very poor’ category. The monitor at Sector 51 recorded the worst AQI, of 375, in the city.
The level of ultrafine particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) was 299 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3), as per the monitor at Vikas Sadan. The safe limit for PM2.5 is 60µg/m3
Experts said that the air quality will deteriorate further due to low wind speeds and accumulation of local pollutants. The situation is likely to improve from October 30 and will continue till November 1.
Kuldeep Srivastava, head of India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) regional weather forecasting centre, said, “Compared to Tuesday, air quality has deteriorated in Gurugram on Wednesday. The downfall is due to wind speed, which, until Tuesday, was blowing at 15 kilometre per hour (kmph) and has now reduced to eight kmph on Wednesday. The condition is likely to remain same till October 29. The wind speed will again increase from October 30.”
Due to changing weather conditions and wind speed, the mixing height — the vertical height at which suspended particles mix with the air — has come down to four kilometres. “With the dip in temperature, the air rising from the surface cannot reach a particular height for dispersal. It leads to accumulation of particulate matter at a lower height. The mixing height has come down to four kilometre now, which was earlier at eight or ten kilometres,” said Srivastava.
The minimum temperature on Wednesday was 14 degrees Celsius and the maximum was 31 degrees Celsius.
Sachin Panwar, a city-based expert in air pollution monitoring, also reiterated that air quality in Gurugram has worsened as local pollutants are not getting dissipated in the air. “With the decline in temperature, dew in the air is holding the particulate matter. The air pollution peak starts from 2am (and lasts) till 7am and again from 9.30pm onwards, as the temperature drops. Due to heavy concretisation, which makes air cooler, the mixing height gets lower,” said Panwar.
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), assigned with the task of ensuring enforcement of Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) to prevent air quality from deteriorating further, is focusing on imposing fines. On Wednesday, fines amounting to a total of Rs 32,800 was imposed for dust from construction and demolition activities and garbage dumping.
So far, the HSPCB’s control room, set up to address complaints pertaining to polluting activities, has received only nine calls.
Shakti Singh, regional officer (south Gurugram), HSPCB, and the nodal officer for Grap implementation, said, “We have forwarded the nine complaints related to garbage dumping, waste burning and dust due to unpaved roads to the agencies concerned.”