Obama visit: pollution level ‘hazardous’ in Delhi

The scene at Rajghat, which is out of bounds for tourists, as part of the security measures for U.S. President Barack Obama's visit.—Photo: S. Subramanium  

A study conducted at six places, U.S. President Barack Obama is slated to visit, has found that air pollution levels are three times more than Indian safety standards and nine times than the WHO limit.

The study was conducted on Friday by NGO Greenpeace India at six locations, including Raj Ghat and Hyderabad House. It revealed that the air quality was “unhealthy and hazardous”. “The organisation followed U.S. President Obama’s route and used an air-monitoring device called PDR 1500 to track the pollution levels.”

“We wanted to find out how much pollution U.S. President Obama is expected to breathe. Our data and readings are quite shocking. Despite the wet weather, the real-time, instant exposure levels were found to be poor and unhealthy,” a statement from the NGO said.

It said, “Greenpeace India monitors the PM2.5 levels in Central Delhi and finds peak pollution levels to be three times the Indian safety limits, nine times that of the WHO’s, and 2.5 times the average levels in Beijing.”

The maximum level of PM2.5 was 264 micrograms/cubic metre at Janpath while at Hyderabad House it was 239 micrograms/ cubic metre, the study said.

At Rajghat, it was 229 micrograms/cubic metre.

The NGO also said that Delhi residents have been breathing extremely poor air this winter with PM2.5 averages peaking at 320 micrograms/cubic metre, which is six times the Indian safety limits and 14 times that of the WHO’s.

Particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are called fine particles as they are so small; they can be detected only with an electron microscope.

PM2.5 has been recognised as a major health hazard all around the world resulting in a wide range of illnesses, including cancer. Its impacts are felt most on the respiratory, reproductive and cardiac systems leading to an increased rate of mortality.

“The precautionary measures being taken by the U.S. government to ensure the safety of their President is a clear indication of how unacceptable the pollution levels in Delhi are,” said Aishwaraya Madineni, Greenpeace India campaigner. — PTI

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 3:07:33 PM |

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