CITY BEAUTIFUL is seeing smoggy conditions for the first time in the last few years, Chandigarh weather department said on Wednesday, attributing it to a combination of meteorological factors and pollution, and the condition is likely to persist at least till the end of the week. Sunday was the worst day for City Beautiful. Although the situation has eased since then, the air quality in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula has worsened and PM 2.5 (particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 mm) values have also increased.
“This type of situation was not there in the city in the previous year. Currently, there is a layer of smog over the city,” Surinder Paul, director, Meteorological Centre, Chandigarh, said on Wednesday.
Paul explains that two factors are responsible for the shallow smog: Meteorological and local pollution. “During first few days of this month, easterly winds were blowing and they picked moisture from Bay of Bengal. Since the temperature was low in northern region, the moisture in the air got condensed and formed fog,” he said.
Soon it turned smog after local pollution particles got mixed with fog. Stubble burning by Chandigarh’s two neighbours, Punjab and Haryana, has been the major contributor to the increasing air pollution.
“Dust particles and particulate matter are trapped in the atmosphere and could not be dissipated because the weather is dry and there are light to no winds,” said Paul.
He said that in the absence of strong winds, the smog has remained suspended in the lower atmosphere.
Paul maintains last year the city didn’t see much smog because weather conditions were favourable. “There were some western disturbances last year which led to a change in atmosphere. The winds were moderate and dry then,” he said.
Rain could also clear the air. “There is one western disturbance approaching from November 11 and then there is a possibility of improvement. If there is rainfall, there will be a change in the present conditions,” said Paul and added that the presence of easterly winds was also diminishing in the region.