Air Qual­ity Wors­ens in Delhi on First Day of Odd-Even Rules

PM-2.5 lev­els go from ‘poor’ in morn­ing to ‘very poor’ by noon

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Our Bureau

New Delhi: Air qual­ity in Delhi de­te­ri­o­rated sharply on Fri­day, mark­ing an ironic start to re­stric­tions on car us­age in the city. Sci­en­tists said this was in line with re­search which shows that many fac­tors other than the use of per­sonal ve­hi­cles de­ter­mine the level of air pol­lu­tion.

The data also high­lights the im­por­tance of the speed and di­rec­tion of wind, which can bring pol­lu­tants, par­tic­u­larly dust from Ra­jasthan and fumes from other towns, apart from blow­ing away par­tic­u­lates hover­ing over the me­trop­o­lis, sci­en­tists said. As soon as the odd-even scheme, which aims to cut pol­lu­tion by de­bar­ring half the cars from roads on the ba­sis of the last digit of their reg­is­tra­tion num­bers, was launched for the sec­ond time in the city, the in­ten­sity of very small par­tic­u­late mat­ter, call PM-2.5, jumped to “poor” lev­els in the morn­ing.

PM-2.5 lev­els de­te­ri­o­rated to the “very poor” cat­e­gory in the af­ter­noon, of­fi­cial data from the In­dian In­sti­tute of Trop­i­cal Me­te­o­rol­ogy showed.

The level of PM-2.5 had re­mained “good” and at times on the lower side of “mod­er­ate” level in the first two weeks of this month, when there was no re­stric­tion on car us­age. Th­ese mi­cro par­ti­cles, one-thir­ti­eth the width of a hu­man hair, are small enough to pen­e­trate hu­man lungs and en­ter the cir­cu­la­tion sys­tem, and are con­sid­ered ex­tremely dan­ger­ous.

The den­sity of PM-2.5 rose to 120 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tres from be­low 80 a day ear­lier. A sci­en­tist in­volved in mon­i­tor­ing air qual­ity said slow­ing down of the breeze over Delhi may have con­trib­uted to the rise in pol­lu­tion.

A study by sci­en­tists of the In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy had ear­lier shown that cars ac­counted for barely a third of the par­tic­u­lates in the air, with other con­trib­u­tors such as trucks and dust con­tribut­ing much more to pol­lu­tion.

Pol­lu­tion mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions of the In­dian In­sti­tute of Trop­i­cal Me­te­o­rol­ogy showed that six of the ten lo­ca­tions in Delhi and its im­me­di­ate neigh­bour­hood had a “very poor” score in PM-2.5 den­sity while the re­main­ing four were rel­a­tively bet­ter off with a “poor” rat­ing.

The Delhi govern­ment had no­ti­fied the sec­ond run of odd-even scheme from April 15-30, say­ing this was nec­es­sary due to the “alarm­ing” level of ve­hic­u­lar pol­lu­tion.

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