The latest Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) analysis shows the National Capital Region has witnessed a substantial ozone build-up this summer.
The finding, which is based on ozone data collected from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the Central Pollution Control Board and the India Meteorological Department between February to May 2018, points towards progressive increase in ozone pollution with the onset of summer.
Air Quality Index
Expressing concern over the issue, Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, research and advocacy and head of CSE’s air pollution programme, said, “While we know that the problem of ozone escalates during summer, the surprise this year is the number of days when the daily Air Quality Index has shown ozone also as a dominant pollutant along with the particulate matter.”
Delhi’s Air Quality Index showed that there were 23 such days during the given period, she said.
Vehicles and industry lead to a rise in the level of nitrogen oxide and volatile gases in the air which are the primary ingredients for ozone formation when exposed to intense sunlight and high temperature. Consistent with the earlier trends, as summer progressed from February to May this year, the frequency of days exceeding the ozone standard has also increased, said the CSE report.
Regions which were found to be vulnerable to exceedance in ozone standards include densely populated areas like R.K. Puram and Nehru Nagar, and green areas like Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range near Asola as well as Lutyens’ and central Delhi.
Among NCR towns, Gurugram leads, the list followed by Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad.
The CSE said that the ozone is an extremely harmful gas and an exposure to such, even for a few hours, can put the people at several health risks.
A study conducted by Health Effect Institute in 2017 had shown that early deaths due to ozone have jumped by 148% in the country.
Though none is safe from ozone pollution, the worst affected are those suffering from asthma and respiratory problems.
This calls for immediate implementation of the recently finalised Comprehensive Action Plan with absolute stringency and disciplined monitoring in a time-bound manner, said the CSE in its report.