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Noida, Ghaziabad have ‘good’ air for the first time in years

The air quality index of Noida was 44 and that of Ghaziabad was 47 on Saturday — the lowest it has ever been since ambient air quality monitoring systems were set up in the two districts.

noida Updated: Jul 24, 2018 15:21 IST
Snehil Sinha
Snehil Sinha
Hindustan Times, Noida/Ghaziabad
Noida,Ghaziabad,noida air quality
The clear skyline of Noida near Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal on Monday, July 23, 2018.(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT PHOTO)

Pollution in the cities of Noida and Ghaziabad is at an all-time low, with the air quality over the past 24 hours remaining in the ‘good’ category for the first time since both cities started monitoring pollution.

Pollution control officials said the rains have helped reduce the dust in the environment. To fall in the ‘good’ category, the air quality index has to be less than 50.

The air quality index of Noida was 44 and that of Ghaziabad was 47 on Saturday — the lowest it has ever been since ambient air quality monitoring systems were set up in the two districts.

Greater Noida also recorded a lower AQI at 50, but remained in the ‘satisfactory’ category. The AQI has been in the satisfactory to moderate category through most of July for Noida and Greater Noida.

Ambient air quality monitoring devices were installed in Noida in June 2017 and in Ghaziabad in May 2017. In the past 25 months, Noida has not seen a single day of good air while the situation has been worse in Ghaziabad over the last 26 months.

Officials said that the air quality was poor even before the automatic monitoring devices were installed. However, there was no mechanism for a daily check and an index for comparison. According to officials, the pollution level has reduced due to constant enforcement throughout the year, as well as special drives by Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), mostly during the winter.

“This year, the enforcement continued throughout the year. There was strict monitoring and penalty for all polluting commercial units, industries and construction sites. Noida and Greater Noida are zero tolerance zones for dust pollution and we review the situation every Friday,” B N Singh, district Magistrate, Gautam Budh Nagar, said.

He added that action has been taken to control pollution by various departments, including the Noida and Greater Noida authorities and the fire department.

The major pollutants in the area are particulate matter (PM)10 and PM2.5. Particulate matter increases in the air due to construction activities and road dust. Officials said the seasonal reduction during monsoon shows that the pollution level in Noida and Ghaziabad can easily be controlled by keeping dust in check.

“The permanent solution for these areas is regular sprinkling of water, mechanical sweeping and plantation drive to increase the green cover. Trees help prevent dust from flying and reduce pollution, especially PM10,”Ashok Tiwary, regional officer for Ghaziabad and Greater Noida, UPPCB, said.

Experts said that the national capital region forms a part of the Ganga-Yamuna plain that has fine sand. It settles when it rains and dries quickly, becoming lighter, and is easily blown away by the wind, thereby spiking dust pollution.

“In comparison, most of South India has coarse red soil that is heavier. That is why many southern states have better air quality. This indicates that permanent steps, such as tree plantation, should be taken to reduce dust in the region if we want to control pollution,” Utsav Sharma, assistant environmental engineer, UPPCB, said.

Seasonally, pollution level improves in June and July due to the monsoon. October and November are the months when the pollution level spikes. These two months mark the beginning of winter and the harvesting season. Burning of crop residue and fossil fuel for warmth and bursting of firecrackers on Diwali happen during this period. All of these add to the rise in pollution level.

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 14:30 IST