Seven cities in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday breathed “severe” air, while three others recorded “very poor” air quality. The seven cities were worse than Delhi which registered an average 24-hour Air Quality Index (AQI) of 399 till 4 pm.
Ghaziabad reigstered the worst average AQI of 453, followed by Bulandshahr (446), Hapur (444), Greater Noida (438), Baghpat (435), Noida (432), Lucknow (422), Kanpur (379), Meerut (371) and Varanasi (328), the CPCB data showed, according to a Central Pollution Control Board’s bulletin.
An AQI between 0-50 is considered “good”, 51-100 “satisfactory”, 101-200 “moderate”, 201-300 “poor”, 301-400 “very poor”, and 401-500 “severe”.
Above 500 is “severe-plus or emergency” category.
According to the CPCB, while “very poor” air quality can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure, “severe” air quality affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases. Among all these cities, particulate matter (PM) 2.5 is the major pollutant except in Bulandshahr where PM 10 is the major pollutant.
On Friday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had directed officials to take steps to tackle air pollution in the state. He had directed district magistrates and divisional commissioners of critical areas to ensure proper disposal of urban waste. According to a statement released by the government, the agriculture department has been directed to stop stubble burning and initiate programmes to make farmers aware of its negative impact.
Meanwhile, steps are being taken at district levels to curb the air pollution.
In Lucknow, the municipal corporation is spraying waters on roads and trees to settle dust particles. The practice started Thursday and is expected to continue. Lucknow SSP Kalanidhi Nathani, meanwhile, started a campaign to take action against diesel-run autos and tempos and vehicles from other district running illegally in Lucknow.
“The traffic month has started and keeping in mind the increasing air pollution, I have directed the SP traffic to run a campaign against diesel autos and tempos illegally running in the city. Action would be taken against all diesel-run tempos and other vehicles causing pollution, and unauthorised (commercial) vehicles coming from other districts and running in Lucknow. I have asked the the SP traffic to enforce this, and all the police stations in the district have been asked to participate. On Saturday, vehicles were seized or challaned, and we are hopeful that this can help curb pollution,” said Naithani.
In Amethi, District Magistrate Prashant Sharma formed four flying squads led by respective deputy collectors against stubble burning. In a letter issued by Sharma, tehsildars and village pradhans have been asked to share information on crop residue burning with the respective flying squad. If any incident of stubble burning comes to light, then lekhpal concerned will be held responsible.