Delhi: Air quaity begins to deteoriate as concentration of PM 2.5 increases

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Delhi: Air quaity begins to deteoriate as concentration of PM 2.5 increases

Despite the SC banning the sale of firecrackers in Delhi, the air quality index in the city has already started deteriorating come Diwali. A CPCB report claims that Delhi's air quality has gone from 'moderate' to 'poor' to 'very poor' since October 7.

Even as Delhi celebrates the Supreme Court ban on Diwali fireworks, which is expected to bring down the festival related air pollution considerably, the city's air quality has already begun to dip with the onset of winters.

As per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data for the last 10 days, the city's PM (Particulate Matter) 2.5 concentration has almost doubled already. This is reflected in both, statistics for individual spots - like JLN Stadium, Civil Lines and IGI Airport - and Delhi's daily average calculated from all the nine monitoring stations operated by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).

The most notorious spot of Delhi, Anand Vihar, in the east is an example. Its PM 2.5 average on October 5 was 86 ugm/m3, which rose to 179 ug/m3 on October 11 and then, 169 ug/m3 on October 12.

Similarly, Punjabi Bagh in west Delhi registered a PM 2.5 concentration of 79 ug/m3 on October 5, which grew to 153 ug/m3 on October 12.

ITO in central Delhi recorded 89 ug/m3 PM 2.5 concentration on October 5 that became 115 ug/m3 on October 12.

Delhi's total average for all nine monitoring stations on October 5 was 84 ug/m3, which rose to 134 ug/m3 by October 12. After Anand Vihar, the worst-performing area in city has been Dwarka, with its NSIT monitoring station recording 155 ug/m3 pollution on October 12.

Environmental activist Vikrant Tongad explained, "The main reason for Delhi's pollution level going up around this month every year is its disadvantageous geographical position. The city is landlocked, so when temperatures dip with the cold season approaching, gases and particulate pollution are unable to disperse at higher altitude which otherwise happens in summers."

"Smog develops, which is most visible in early mornings and night time. This is what causes most asthma attacks and eye irritations," he said.

As per the IIT Kanpur's 'source apportionment' study done last year, Delhi's sources of pollution include crop residue burning in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab; diesel-powered vehicles, brick kilns in NCR and dust coming from Rajasthan's Thar.

PM2.5 is considered the most harmful of all gaseous and dust pollution matter as it percolates deep into the lungs. As compared to PM 10 - which is larger in size and lodges itself in the upper respiratory system - PM 2.5 enters the lower respiratory system and makes its way into the bloodstream, causing cancer and heart attacks.

The National Air Quality Index (NAQI) daily air reports formulated by CPCB support the DPCC data as well showing how Delhi's air quality has gone from 'moderate' to 'poor' to 'very poor', beginning October 7.