The air quality of Delhi, largely ’very poor’ with it breaching the ‘severe’ level in areas such as Anand Vihar, poses public health risks as the most prominent pollutant across monitoring stations has been found out to be PM 2.5, the tiniest and deadliest.
In seven out of 10 monitoring stations of the Central Pollution Control Board, PM 2.5, particulate matter having the size equal to or less than 2.5 micron, came out to be the major pollutant.
However, in Anand Vihar, the most polluted spot in the city, PM 10 had more presence. PM 10 is the particular matter having the size equal to or less than 10 micron.
Delhi Pollution Control Committee’s (DPCC) real time monitoring showed PM 2.5 and PM 10 at 191 and 611 respectively while R.K. Puram had the corresponding figures at 220 and 458 at around 12.30 PM.
Air Quality Index (AQI) of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stations, located across the city, also hovered between very poor and poor.
Dhirpur station’s PM 2.5 and PM10 AQI were 392 and 369 at 12.55 PM.
’Very poor’ signifies PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels between 351 and 420 and 211 to 252 micro gram per cubic metre. ‘Severe’ is declared when PM 2.5 and PM 10 cross 253, 421 micro gram per cubic metres respectively.
Permissible levels of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre respectively and consistent exposure to anything beyond that can harm the respiratory system as the particles embed themselves deep inside the lungs.
These respirable particulate matters, a product of vehicle emissions, burning of waste, industrial plumes, especially PM 2.5 is considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the best indicator of the level of health risks from air pollution.
While Delhi chokes, other cities such as Mumbai and Bangalore had much lesser levels of pollution with the air quality being recorded between moderate to poor.
In a report to the Delhi Government recently, an IIT Kanpur team had suggested a switch to Euro VI norms among other measures to combat the menace, largely a product of emissions from vehicles, thermal plants and biomass burning in neighbouring states.