Air quality at ‘very poor’ level in Noida, Ghaziabad
The air quality in Ghaziabad and Noida deteriorated to ‘very poor’ level on Wednesday for the first time this month. The air quality index (AQI) crossed the 300 mark at both monitoring stations in the city, with the major pollutant being particulate matter-10 (PM10). Experts say the situation will continue for the next few days.
There are two air quality monitoring stations in Noida and one in Ghaziabad. The AQI at Sector 125 monitoring station was 371 and 332 at the Sector 62 in Noida at 6pm. The AQI in Ghaziabad, meanwhile, was 364 around the same time.
According to the index, the impact of very poor air quality includes ‘respiratory illness on prolonged exposure’. While the pollution level is usually low during the summer, regional variations are possible. As PM10 is the prominent pollutant, experts say that high volume of dust in the air could be a major contributor.
“PM10 in the air is usually because of dust, especially in the summer. It is the carrier of most other pollutants and harmful substances. Building construction and road dust are all factors that can increase PM10. However, we need to look more deeply into why the pollution levels are increasing now,” Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said.
The air quality in Noida had remained poor throughout the winter. The quality had improved steadily in February but worsened towards the end of the month.
The PM10 level peaked around midnight on Wednesday, as it reaching 480 micrograms per cubic metre (mpcm) in Noida and 500mpcm in Ghaziabad. The PM2.5 level was also recorded much higher than usual, at an average of 277mpcm, at Sector 125; 137 in Sector 62 of Noida and 270 in Vasundhara, Ghaziabad.
The PM2.5 level increased to as high as 449mpcm in Ghaziabad around 5am. The pollution levels were between poor and moderate throughout the month but started deteriorating since Monday.
Officials of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said that there are various factors that contribute to the air quality of Noida.
“Noida sees high vehicular traffic and also construction activities. Polluting agents are variable and the sudden spike needs to be investigated,” R K Tyagi, regional officer, UPPCB, said.
Meanwhile, doctors advised residents to cover their faces while commuting and reduce exposure that leads to increased cases of allergies, chest infection, asthma, and other pulmonary conditions.