Air pollution: Capital fares well in first half, dubious on clean winter

Delhi has registered seven days of ‘severe’ air quality between January 1 and August 26 this year.

Updated - September 04, 2018 01:50 pm IST

Published - September 04, 2018 01:50 am IST - New Delhi

Preventive steps: A file photo of tourists wearing masks to protect themselves from smog in New Delhi.

Preventive steps: A file photo of tourists wearing masks to protect themselves from smog in New Delhi.

The Capital has registered 118 days of ‘good’, ‘satisfactory’ or ‘moderate’ air quality between January 1 and August 26 this year— its best performance in three years, according to an analysis by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). In the same period, there were 117 such days in 2017; and only 74 in 2016.

However, this does not imply that Delhi is set for a clean winter.

Delhi has registered seven days of ‘severe’ air quality (when the Air Quality Index exceeds 401) between January 1 and August 26 this year. There were no ‘severe’ days in 2017 and only six ‘severe’ days in 2016, in the same period. The CPCB also compared pollution data and concentration of particulate matter (PM), as measured in February this year, from several areas in Delhi to determine which places need more attention.

Lodhi Road area was determined to be one of the least polluted areas in the city requiring ‘focused efforts on dust control’. Dwarka, Mundka and Anand Vihar have been categorised as ‘polluted’ areas that require ‘extensive effort’ to control sources of coarse dust (PM2.5) such as road dust and construction waste. IGI, Najafgarh, Aya Nagar, ITO and North Campus have been flagged as areas that require ‘extensive efforts’ to control pollution caused by combustion. Jahangirpuri, Ashok Vihar, Bawana, Narela, R.K. Puram, and more have been categorised as ‘critical’ areas that require ‘multi-dimensional intervention’ to curb pollution levels.

 

The Centre claims it has planned several initiatives, which will be launched for the first time, to buffer the blow of possible bad air quality during winter this year.

The government has proposed installing 54 Wind Augmentation and Air Purifying Units (WAYU) at high-pollution areas in Delhi such as ITO, Wazirpur and Shadipur.

 

Tested in Mumbai, the WAYUs act like giant vacuum pumps that suck in polluted air, filter some of the pollutants and release the cleaned air. The CPCB will also be installing ‘Pariyantara’ filtration units atop 30 buses. These units work in a similar fashion to the WAYUs. To tackle pollution emanating from neighbouring States, particularly from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, the Union Environment Ministry is planning to supply seeding machines to farmers.

Like last year, 40 teams of the Union Environment Ministry will be monitoring pollution emission sources across Delhi.

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