After a brief respite, air quality levels in Lucknow again veered dangerously close to the “severe” mark on Monday, which, as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), could trigger immediate respiratory problems in healthy people as well. On Monday, the air quality in Lucknow had wavered between “very poor” and “severe”. However, between November 8 and 11, the AQI had fluctuated between 424 and 468.
In Ghaziabad and Noida, air quality in last 10 days was “severe”. Moradabad, Kanpur, Agra and Varanasi recorded “severe” conditions for the 7, 4, 4 and 2 days respectively over the last 10 days. Regional Officer at the UP Pollution Control Board, Dr Ram Karan, said pollution increases in winter because when there is fog, pollutant particles are not able to rise higher into the atmosphere.
“The fog creates a thick layer in the atmosphere. The pollutants get trapped, affecting air quality. Also, there is no wind at present and that too is a reason for the bad air quality,” he said, adding that fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a major air pollutant. Ashok Verma, scientific officer at the board, said, “It is a misconception that vehicular pollution is the main reason for air pollution. It is the small dust particles of PM10 and PM2.5 that affect the most. Construction of buildings, roads, metro trains, etc, create a huge amount of such fine particles.”
He further said that earlier, farmers used to reap their crop manually, but now there are machines which cut only the upper portion of the crop. “Farmers burn the leftovers, creating air pollution,” he added.