PM 2.5 levels down by 25 percent, says Delhi minister

New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Delhi’s Transport Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday said the level of particulate matter PM 2.5 that causes air pollution has come down by at least 25 percent in the inner areas of the city a week after working the odd-even vehicle formula.

Addressing reporters at the Delhi Secretariat, Rai said that in December 2015, “the average value of PM 2.5 was between 400 and 465 (ug/m3).”

The latest set of ambient air data collected by mobile teams of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) at 18 locations on Wednesday showed a consistent trend of declining levels of PM 2.5, he said.

“At all 18 locations, the PM 2.5 levels were recorded less than 300 (ug/m3). This shows that average reduction in the PM 2.5 levels is at least 25 percent,” Rai said.

“This is due to reduction in the number of vehicles on Delhi’s roads due to the odd-even formula. Primary source of PM 2.5 is attributed to vehicles,” he said.

At nine of the 18 locations, the PM 2.5 levels were recorded at less than 200.

“Had there been no odd-even formula in place, the pollution levels would have worsened in Delhi in this weather,” he said.

Rai said the government would run the odd-even formula till January 15.

“We had decided to run this formula for 15 days so that we could get enough data and experience for assessment of the scheme. We will present all our findings and the data related to reduction in pollution level before the high court on Friday,” he added.

According to ambient air data collected by the mobile teams of DPCC, the PM 2.5 levels in Chandni Chowk ranged between 207 and 223, and it was 173 and 206 respectively at India Gate and Connaught Place.

In Chanakyapuri and Dhaula Kuan, the levels were recorded at 170 and 161, respectively. Similarly, in Deoli and Badarpur, the levels were measured at 293 and 294, respectively.

Briefing about the sixth day of the odd-even scheme, Rai said that Delhiites by and large complied with the formula by driving odd- and evedn-numbered cars on alternate dates, which resulted in smooth traffic movement.

Rai said that till 3.30 p.m., 295 violators were fined by the authorities.

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