Gurugram sees fourfold rise in air pollution in OctoberUpdated: Oct 31, 2019, 22:17 IST
The average daily level of pollution rose fourfold in October as compared to September, showed air quality index (AQI) values on the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) website. Gurugram experienced zero days of ‘good’ air in October, as opposed to 16 such days in September.
Data shows that air quality in the city has deteriorated significantly over the past month, as the average monthly AQI for the city rose to 207 and entered the ‘poor’ category, as opposed to 59 (‘satisfactory’) last month. Moreover, from having zero days of ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ air in September, the city experienced 11 days of ‘poor’ air and four days of ‘very poor’ air in October.
On October 31, Gurugram recorded an AQI of 341, keeping air quality in the ‘very poor’ range for the fourth consecutive day. This is according to data captured by the CPCB’s sole air quality monitor at Vikas Sadan.
Private data, on the other hand, showed a more ominous situation. According to an air quality monitor in South City 1, the AQI on Thursday night touched ‘severe’ levels at 427, with PM2.5 concentrations of 448ug/m3 and PM10 concentrations of 775ug/m3.
Another private monitor installed near Tau Devi Lal Biodviersity Park, on Thursday, night showed an AQI of 421, with particulate matter exceeding concentrations of 500ug/m3. Private monitors in DLF Golf Links, Park Place and Grand Arch also showed AQI exceeding the 400 mark, with the monitor in Park Place recording PM2.5 levels of 539ug/m3 and PM10 levels of 827ug/m3.
The permissible limit for PM2.5 is 60ug/m3 as per Indian standards, while for the WHO it is 25 ug/m3. For PM10, the safe limit is 100ug/m3 as per Indian standards, while the WHO considers 60ug/m3 as a safe limit.
While officials attributed this spike to changes in temperature, emissions from firecrackers during Diwali and the impact of stubble-burning, experts said that it also points to a poor implementation of the CPCB’s Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) to curb air pollution in the NCR. “According to the Grap, there should be a complete crackdown on polluting activities, but waste burning and use of diesel generators, for example, continue despite official orders,” city-based air quality expert Sachin Panwar said.
Panwar added that data from the city’s official air quality monitor should not be taken at face value. “While it is true that this year Gurugram (air) is slightly cleaner than Delhi, air pollution levels are severe and citizens need to take every precaution to safeguard themselves,” he said.
Haryana State Pollution Control Board’s regional officer in Gurugram, Kuldeep Singh, however, said, “We are taking every step, from vigilance on waste burning to construction bans. The October report for Grap compliance will be made available by the CPCB soon. As for the ban on diesel generators, the EPCA is expected to arrive at a decision before the weekend.”
Deputy commissioner Amit Khatri did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.