13 cities of Haryana record poor AQI over 100 days, Faridabad worst-hit for 2nd year in row

Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Thirteen cities and towns of the state have recorded more than 100 ‘bad days’ of poor, very poor and severe air pollution. This is the highest for any state in the country in 2021.

‘Bad days’ are when the air quality index (AQI) is more than 200, while ‘good days’ are those when the AQI lies between the range of 0 and 200.

Haryana is followed by Uttar Pradesh, with 11 cities recording more than 100 ‘bad days’ in 2021.

As per the data shared during the ongoing Parliament session, in 2021, Faridabad, recorded 177 ‘bad days’, the highest in the state, followed by Gurugram (150), Hisar and Bahadurgarh with 146 each, Manesar (144), Jind (130), Dharuhera (126), Ballabhgarh (124) and Yamunanagar (122).

“The Indo-Gangetic plain is the global hotspot of air pollution and Haryana is a part of it. Major contributions of air pollution in the state are industrial pollution, vehicular emissions, crop burning and emissions from thermal power plants. Besides, stagnant weather during winters also contributes to air pollution,” said Professor Ravindra Khaiwal, Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh.

Bhiwadi in Rajasthan recorded 213 ‘bad days’ in 2021, the highest in the country, followed by Ghaziabad (202) and Faridabad (177).

In 2020, there were only six Haryana cities/towns with more than 100 ‘bad days’ of air pollution. Faridabad had topped the list in 2020 as well with 139 ‘bad days’ in the state.

In 2019, the figure stood at 11 cities/towns. Ballabhgarh in Faridabad had the maximum ‘bad days’ in Haryana at 142.

The number of ‘bad days’ has risen in Faridabad, Jind, Kurukshetra, Narnaul, and Yamunanagar from 2019 to 2021.

“We have a number of cities/towns in the National Capital Region (NCR) where AQI remains high. Faridabad is the worst. We have identified hotspots in the cities and are turning them into green spots with a multipronged strategy. Funds have been allocated under the 15th Finance Commission for the improvement of the air quality in Faridabad as well,” said S Narayanan, Member Secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).

The AQI in 0-50 falls in ‘good’, 51-100 in ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 in ‘moderate’ and 201-300 in ‘poor’ categories. If the AQI is between 301 and 400, it is ‘very poor’ and causes respiratory illness. If it is above 401, it falls in the “severe” category and has respiratory effects even on healthy people.

The Centre has listed the ban on the use of pet coke and furnace oil in the NCR, shifting of brick kilns in Delhi-NCR to zigzag technology, a ban on 10-year-old diesel vehicles and 15-year-old petrol vehicles in Delhi NCR, introduction of BS VI compliant vehicles across the country since April 2020 and ethanol blending as some of the measures to reduce air pollution, in its reply before the Lok Sabha.

Besides, the National Clean Air Program (NCAP) was launched in January 2019 for improving the air quality across the country.

Faridabad had most ‘bad days’ in 2020 too

In 2020, there were only six cities/towns with more than 100 ‘bad days’ of air pollution. Faridabad was the worst hit in the state in 2020 as well with 139 ‘bad days’
In 2019, the figure stood at 11 cities/towns. Ballabhgarh in Faridabad had the maximum ‘bad days’ in Haryana at 142
Hotspots being turned into green spots

We have a number of cities/towns in the NCR where AQI remains high. Faridabad is the worst. We have identified hotspots in the cities and are turning them into green spots with a multipronged strategy. — S Narayanan, member secretary, HSPCB

State part of global pollution hotspot

The Indo-Gangetic plain is the global hotspot of air pollution and Haryana is a part of it. Major contributors to air pollution in the state are industrial and vehicular emissions, stubble burning and emissions from thermal power plants. — Prof Ravindra Khaiwal, PGIMER, Chandigarh