scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Saturday, December 04, 2021

Pollution focus on Delhi, but NCR towns fare worse

As Delhi-NCR have the same ‘airshed’ — a region sharing a common flow of air — pollution in neighbouring cities adversely affects the national capital as well. As a result, experts have said measures taken to reduce air pollution in Delhi need to be applied across NCR.

Written by Abhinaya Harigovind | New Delhi |
Updated: October 26, 2021 9:58:42 am
Earlier this month, several cities in the NCR began to record worsening air quality.

While Delhi is in the spotlight each time air quality takes a turn for the worse, other parts of the National Capital Region appear to be more polluted, data from the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) daily bulletins shows.

As Delhi-NCR have the same ‘airshed’ — a region sharing a common flow of air — pollution in neighbouring cities adversely affects the national capital as well. As a result, experts have said measures taken to reduce air pollution in Delhi need to be applied across NCR.

Earlier this month, several cities in the NCR began to record worsening air quality. Ballabgarh, a town in Haryana’s Faridabad district, for instance, recorded its first ‘poor’ air day (AQI of 221) this season on October 7. This was much higher than Delhi’s AQI of 127 for the day. Faridabad similarly recorded a ‘poor’ AQI of 236 on the day, CPCB daily bulletins show.

While AQI of Ballabgarh and Faridabad was in the ‘poor’ category on October 8, Bhiwadi in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, also recorded a ‘poor’ AQI of 242 on the same day.

While Delhi’s AQI remained in the ‘moderate’ category, other areas in the NCR like Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida and Meerut have been recording ‘poor’ AQI intermittently from October 9 onwards.

Delhi recorded its first ‘poor’ air day this season on October 16, remaining in the category on October 17 and 20. The same day, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Karnal, Noida and Bhiwadi all saw AQI in the ‘very poor’ category. The air quality in Ghaziabad has, in fact, remained ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ from October 16-24.

From October 21-24, Delhi’s AQI remained in the ‘moderate’ category, while Panipat and Sonipat deteriorated to ‘poor’ on October 21. AQI for Panipat remained ‘poor’ on October 22, and Sonipat recorded ‘poor’ AQI on October 23 and 24 as well.

According to an analysis report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi’s winter PM 2.5 average was 192 last year (October 15, 2020 to February 15, 2021). Some parts of the NCR recorded higher levels. For Ghaziabad, this figure stood at 229, for Greater Noida it was 204, 203 in Noida, and 198 in Bulandshahr.

How this affects Delhi

The Decision Support System developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, predicts the contribution of 19 nearby districts to PM 2.5 levels in Delhi, based on numerical modelling of atmospheric pollutants along with observational data from these districts.

The forecast for October 24 said that Faridabad is likely to contribute around 11.5% of PM 2.5 levels to Delhi around 6 am, while Ghaziabad could contribute around 0.2% at the same time, and Bulandshahr could be 2.24%.

Scientists associated with the project maintained that precise contributions from these areas could be difficult to ascertain.

“When cool, calm conditions in winter trap pollutants, this happens across the Indo-Gangetic plain, and you can’t create small green islands. Each city will require its own action plan and must take note of its local sources of pollution. But we also need a region-wide harmonisation of action. There is an asymmetry in action – Delhi might not have any coal-fired power plants, but the NCR has 11. We need strong regional action with clear targets,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, CSE.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Delhi News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement