Noida, Ghaziabad air in ‘very poor’ category, may remain there for next 3-4 daysUpdated: Oct 22, 2020, 22:51 IST
The air quality index (AQI) in the three cities of Noida, Ghaziabad and Greater Noida deteriorated on Thursday stood in the ‘very poor’ category as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)’s bulletin. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the weather played an important role in turning the air foul and that the hazy conditions are likely to persist for three more days.
According to the CPCB, the AQI of Noida, Ghaziabad and Greater Noida was recorded at 308, 318 and 328, respectively, all in the ‘very poor’ category.’
The wind speed had drastically reduced on Thursday, said IMD officials, which resulted in pollutants being trapped in the atmosphere.
“Overcast conditions on Thursday led to an increase in moisture content (but not enough to force pollutants to settle). The wind speed was high initially with easterly winds blowing at about 6-8kmph in the morning, but the direction changed to north-westerly and the speed dropped to about 0-3kmph. So, the dispersal of pollutants did not happen. It is likely that the conditions will remain the same for another three or four days,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of India Meteorological Department’s Regional Weather Forecasting Centre, New Delhi.
As a result of the prevailing conditions, all four monitoring stations in Ghaziabad, two in Greater Noida and three of four in Noida were recording readings well above the AQI value of 300(‘very poor’ category) at 7pm Thursday. One station of Noida did not show reading due to technical reasons.
The forecast by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar) on Thursday said that calm surface wind conditions will lead to low ventilation, meaning low dispersal of pollutants.
“It is forecasted that the air quality will be in the ‘poor’ to marginally ‘very poor’ categories on October 23 and 24. A significant increase in stubble fires in Haryana, Punjab and neighbouring regions with Safar synergised stubble fire counts stood at approximately 1428 yesterday, the highest this season so far. However, as the boundary layer wind direction is not fully favourable for pollutant transport towards the Delhi region, the Safar model estimate that the stubble burning share in PM2.5 is 9% for today,” the Safar said in a statement.
According to official statistics of the Consortium for Research on Agroecosystem Monitoring and Modelling from Space (CREAMS) Laboratory, a Division of Agricultural Physics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, the instances of stubble burning in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh stood at 11,320 during the period from October 1 to October 21.
The figure is high considering that the three states accounted for 6,777 and 6,190 fires during the same period in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
The officials of UP pollution control board (UPPCB) also attributed the sudden rise to meteorological conditions.
“There has been no spike due to any local conditions in the city. The higher range of pollution is primarily due to prevailing meteorological conditions. On our part, we are taking up pollution abatement measures and also carrying out enforcement drives,” said Praveen Kumar, regional officer of UPPCB, Noida.
Utsav Sharma, the regional officer of UPPCB, Ghaziabad, also said slow wind speed led to the hike in pollution.
“The wind speed was almost zero during the major part of the day and this led to saturation of pollutants and lesser dispersal. Locally, we are carrying out checks at industrial units, farms and construction sites. After we recommended penalty against the contractor taking up the work at CISF-Road in Indirapuram, the contractor has covered the open areas,” he said, adding that the PM2.5 levels also increased as a result of meteorological conditions prevailing on Thursday.
“Exposure to PM2.5 has both short and long-term impacts -- in the short term it can cause irritation in the eyes, nose and throat, as well as coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath. However, prolonged exposure to PM2.5 can cause more serious and permanent respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and heart disease. Research shows that every 10 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) increase in PM 2.5 increases mortality between 3%-26%, chances of childhood asthma by 16%, chances of lung cancer by 36%, and heart attacks by 44%,” said Dr Gyan Bharti, pulmonologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad.