Ban up in smoke, 10 cities see ‘severe’ AQI

Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Out of the 22 cities recording “severe” air quality index (AQI) in the country post Diwali, 10 were located in Haryana. The “severe” AQI implies that the air quality affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.

Out of the 22 cities recording “severe” air quality index (AQI) in the country post Diwali, 10 were located in Haryana. The “severe” AQI implies that the air quality affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.

In danger zone

Haryana has been witnessing continued ‘severe’ and ‘very poor’ AQI for some days. ‘Severe’ AQI implies that the air quality affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases.

Out of the eight most polluted cities in the country, four were from the state. This has happened despite a cracker ban in 14 NCR districts, as per the NGT order. In the remaining districts also except Panchkula, the ban was imposed based on the last year’s November air quality data.

As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), from 4 pm of November 4 to 4 pm of November 5 (24-hour average), which included the period of the bursting of crackers, Noida recorded the worst AQI at 475, followed by Gurugram (472), Ghaziabad (470), Faridabad (469), Greater Noida (464), Jind (462), Ballabgarh (462) and Delhi (462).

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 301-400, 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.

Other places in Haryana which had “severe” AQI included Manesar (458), Bhiwani (437), Rohtak (437), Charkhi Dadri (424), Panipat (413) and Hisar (405).

Besides, 10 places in the state recorded “very poor” AQI, which included Sonepat (400), Dharuhera (383), Narnaul (377), Kaithal (377), Kurukshetra (354), Mandikhera (336), Fatehabad (330), Karnal (329), Palwal (314) and Ambala (301).

“It has largely happened due to the flouting of the ban on the bursting of firecrackers. The local administration must have taken action on the flouting of the ban. The winter season is also contributing to a rise in the level of pollution,” said S Narayanan, Member Secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB).

There were 228 and 331 stubble burning events in the state on November 4 and November 5, respectively, according to the HSPCB. Till today, there were 3,997 events since September 15 compared to 6,815 last year. There is a fall of 41.3 per cent.

Haryana has, however, been witnessing continued “severe” and “very poor” AQI for some days.

“Stubble burning is not the sole reason for continued “severe” and “very poor” AQI in Haryana. The bursting of crackers will give you a peak for a day or two. During winter, the atmospheric boundary comes down significantly. So, even with same emissions, pollution level rises. The air becomes stagnant. Cloudy weather also contributes to the formation of secondary particles,” said Additional Professor Ravindra Khaiwal, from the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh.

He added, “In Haryana, the rise in vehicular density and the burning of municipal solid waste had also contributed to pollution in small cities.”