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Three of four monitoring stations in the city — Vikas Sadan, Gwalpahari and Sector 51 — recorded AQIs that were in the “severe” category. The date of Teri Gram station was unavailable on Sunday because of insufficient data.
While the AQI at Gwalpahari was 433, it was 486 in Sector 51 and 420 in Vikas Sadan. The air was much better on November 8 last year, when it was 306.
The city air touched the “severe” category for the first time this season on November 5. Low wind speed and an increase in the number of farm fires in Punjab and Haryana have been blamed for the foul air.
Particulate matter such as PM 2.5 and PM 10 level were also higher than the permissible limit at each of the monitoring stations.
The permissible limit of PM 2.5 is 60g/m3 and for PM 10 it is 100 g/m3.
“Compared to this period in 2019, we have observed 1,000 farm fires more this time so far. This is a cause for concern because it is adding pollutants to the atmosphere,” said S Narayanan, member secretary of HSPCB.
For the past few days, the wind speed has been hovering between 4 and 12kmph, which is not helping the pollutants to disperse in the air. The official said the AQI was likely to remain in the “severe” zone for a few days more. “We are expecting the AQI to remain in the severe category for a few more days before the wind speed picks up,” he added.
The air in other NCR cities was not any better. While Faridabad recorded an AQI of 426, Delhi registered 416, Greater Noida 440, Noida 428 and Ghaziabad 456. An AQI between 400 and 500 is considered “severe”.
Residents in all these cities have been complaining about health issues such burning of eyes, skin rashes and breathing problems because of rising pollution levels. The issue of bad air is a cause for concern for people with lung ailments, all the more because of the pandemic.
With the deterioration in air quality, CPCB has directed all government and private establishments to reduce the use of vehicles by 30% and encourage employees to work from home or share the mode of transport to work.
Although diesel gensets have been banned under GRAP measures, the Gurugram administration still needs to implement certain restrictions such as closing down brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers or any other factory that pushes up pollution for the time being.
It should also focus on mechanised cleaning of roads, sprinkling of water and intensifying public transport services. The civic body should first identify stretches that generate more dust.