National Air Quality Index, which was launched with much pomp in the national capital on Monday, seems to have hit a hiccup here within hours of its operation.
Where the “residential” BTM Layout in Bengaluru occupied the dubious position of “most polluted place” in India, the industrial Peenya area showed serene pollution levels.
Doubts over the “inflated” figures were justified on Tuesday. While the NAQI — which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — showed BTM Layout as having “very poor” air quality index (AQI) index of 361 on Monday, on Tuesday, the numbers fluctuated drastically between just 43 indicating “good” air quality and 183.
‘Numbers shocking’ “I was shocked to see the numbers,” said K. Karunakaran, Senior Technical Supervisor at Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Bengaluru. He said it was found that the configurations at the measuring station were jumbled. “The numbers for CO (carbon monoxide) were being calculated as PM2.5 (Particulate Matter). So ‘normal’ CO levels suddenly became abnormally high PM2.5 levels,” he said, adding that it would take time for the index to stabilise. CPCB officials admit the index doesn’t give a picture of Bengaluru yet. Apart from BTM Layout the Board runs monitoring stations on the periphery of Peenya and BWSSB Kadubesanahalli (close to Marathahalli).
“It will take a long time to expand the network of stations,” said an official.