Ghaziabad’s air quality index (AQI) continued to remain in the ‘severe’ category Wednesday and stood at 478 at 4 pm, making it the most polluted city in NCR, according to data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The AQI averaged around 459 Tuesday, with PM2.5 being the prominent pollutant. As per the report shared by the weather department, change in wind velocity in the coming two days is expected to disperse pollutants and dust particles.
“One of the major reasons for Ghaziabad having the worst index is construction happening in the city. One of the stations that measures air quality is situated close to Delhi-Saharanpur highway, and records a large amount of pollution due to vehicular movement. The bursting of firecrackers made it worse since dust particles have settled in the region. Once wind velocity picks up, the particles will be displaced,” said Ankit Singh, assistant environmental engineer, UP Pollution Control Board.
According to officials, 25 tankers, including 15 sewage jetting machines, have been deployed by the Nagar Nigam to spray water in several parts of the city. The Ghaziabad Development Authority has deputed 19 more tankers for the purpose. Officials have been asked to share live locations and pictures of spots where water has been sprayed to maintain a record of places covered.
The UP Pollution Board recently put together a team of 28 engineers to report on polluting activities being carried out in the city, such as waste burning, crackers, fire, etc. The information is passed on to an integrated WhatsApp group that has officials from several government departments. A pollution board official flags the activity and the administration initiates action.
“Local factors contribute in several ways. Recently, there was a fire in a factory which was picked up by our monitoring systems. Such cases also impact the average AQI,” said Singh.
Noida comes second to Ghaziabad in Delhi-NCR in terms of peak pollution, with its AQI averaging 445 for the last two days.