Pollution rises after weekend dip

Pollutants in the city’s air started rising again after a significant dip over the weekend.

On Tuesday, particulate matter (PM) 10 and PM2.5 stood at 279.8 and 173.1 microgram per cubic metre respectively, close to the levels recorded on the same days last year, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The levels had reduced significantly over the weekend, but started rising again since Monday.

However, experts blame it on weather-related factors and said that the situation could have been worse had the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme not been in place.

“Any reduction in the levels is the combination of meteorogical factors and the odd even formula, which has helped to a marginal extent, but nobody should expect a very huge impact on the pollution levels due to it,” said Sumit Sharma, Fellow at The Energy and Research Institute (TERI).

“It is difficult to delienate the exact impact of odd-even scheme. The contribution of private cars in overall inventory is about five per cent so even the reduction will be accordingly. The government should look for other long term strategies to reduce pollution and use the current formula only in emergency cases. But, yes it cannot be denied that the odd-even scheme has helped,” he said.

On Tuesday, the hourly data on the SAFAR website under Ministry of Earth Sciences showed an upward trend. However, the levels were less than those recorded during the initial days of the scheme.

With the MeT department predicting dense fog on Wednesday, it is likely that levels will remain high as particulates will not be dispersed.

Govt data
However, according to the Delhi government’s data the “trend of reduction” in PM2.5 levels continued on Monday, which according to it, showed the most “encouraging” results so far.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) under the Delhi government collected ambient air data at 17 locations on Monday through mobile dust samplers and said that there was around 50 per cent decline in air pollution levels in Delhi, in comparison to the average data of last five years.

According to the data, “PM2.5 levels on Monday showed recordings of less than 200 microgram per cubic metre at 12 of these locations, which is around 50 per cent less than average data since the odd-even regulations were put in place”. 
 
“Five locations showed PM2.5 measurements less than 100 and seven locations showed measurements between 100-200. Of the total 17, lowest measurement was at 91 and the highest at 268, indicating a clear dip in peak recordings of PM 2.5 pollution levels,” a Delhi government statement said.

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