For 10 consecutive days in May this year, the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Gurgaon was missing. According to an analysis of the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB’s) AQI bulletin archives, there is no data for 17 days between May 16 and June 22 — this despite Gurgaon being one of the four places in Haryana where real-time monitoring stations have been installed.
Stating that representatives from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) had admitted to issues with the monitoring stations in the state, a member of the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority said, “Earlier this month, they said there were some issues due to power connectivity and that some of the monitoring stations need to be re-calibrated. This had caused fluctuations in the data.”
The CPCB’s website also throws up no data for the Rohtak station. However, HSPCB member-secretary S Narayanan told The Indian Express, “No issues have been reported from any of these stations. For the Rohtak station, all records are available. It’s possible that there is some server issue in connecting to the CPCB’s website.”
He added that there were minor issues in the Faridabad station after field staff noticed some fluctuations. These, however, had been rectified.
There are also random instances where air quality data is unavailable for Gurgaon. For instance, data for four days — May 27, June 1, 15 and 17 — is missing, while data is available for the other days. (see box)
Between June 3-5, data is once again unavailable. “No problems have been reported,” a senior scientist with the HSPCB told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, Gurgaon resident and environmental analyst Chetan Agarwal said while the current real-time monitoring station in Gurgaon was in a “representative location,” the burgeoning city needed at least 4-5 more stations. Currently, the station is at Vikas Sadan.
“The key point is that ozone levels are very high in the summer, especially May. It is not difficult for the government to install more monitoring stations in the city. There are plans to install one at Cyber Hub, which is closer to the Delhi border. But there should also be one in the heart of the new Gurgaon region near HUDA City Centre. It is important to figure out regional variations within Gurgaon,” he said.
A study by the Centre for Science and Environment — ‘Gurugram: A framework for sustainable development’ — highlights why monitoring is necessary given the level of vehicular traffic on the city’s roads.
As per the study, about 4,50,000 vehicles ply on Gurgaon roads daily, about 50,000 are added every year, while 900 trucks cross the city everyday.