Pollution levels: AAP government paints positive picture, data differs

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New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) On the second day of odd-even phase-two, the increase in gaseous pollution (NO2) and a high concentration of particulate matter (PM) was reported in some areas of the national capital, even though the Delhi government claimed a positive impact on Delhi’s air quality.

“Initial trends show Odd/Even will have a positive impact on Delhi’s air quality – concrete assessment will be made after assessing the data of four-five working days,” the Delhi government said in a statement.

As per the ‘real time’ (Live) assessment of the air quality by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), the gas concentration, mainly Nitrogen Dioxide dropped on Saturday.

However, the data based on Friday – the first day of odd-even phase-2, posed a different picture with increase in gas concentration as well as PM, against the claims of the Delhi government.

The difference in data based (on Friday’s assessment) was also evident as PM 2.5 (particles with diameter less than 2.5 micro metre) was claimed at 132 units by green organisations, while the official report claimed it around 63.

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Similarly, for Lodhi Road the difference in PM 2.5 was 100 units against 68 units, Tikri border around Bahadurgarh it was 132 units against the official claim of 49 units.

The data varied from source to source. For instance, PM 2.5 at Anand Vihar according to Central Pollution Control Board was 226 units, while Delhi government claimed it to be around 63.

The unit of PM and NO2 is microgram per cubic meters.

The gaseous concentration (NO2) had also increased on Friday as compared to a day before.

However, as per DPCC’s real time data of Saturday, the NO2 concentration dropped drastically. Anand Vihar, where NO2 concentration was at a peak, saw a drop from 111 units to 97.7, at RK Puram it dropped from 81 to 41.2 units and from 40 to 22.4 units at Mandir Marg.

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NO2 concentration increased at Punjabi Bagh area, despite two days of fewer cars on road.

The government reports also claimed that the PM 2.5 level was found within permissible limits, which is below 60 at 40 out of 74 assessed locations. According to the report, PM 2.5 concentration was 37 at India gate, 32 at Jantar Mantar, 63 at AIIMS and 32 at Dwarka to name a few.

Official reports also claimed that PM10 (particles with diameter less than 10 micro metre) levels at majority of locations were recorded below the level of 200 units, which is normal. The reports from TERI however claimed PM concentrations at RK Puram, Anand Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Mandir Marg, Lodhi Road, Bahadurgarh, Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon had increased on Friday as compared to the day before.

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As per TERI, the particulate matters’ (PM) higher concentration, caused by unfavourable winds, had exceeded the standards in Delhi and the National Capital Region.

The PM are the pollutants responsible for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, while Nitrogen Dioxide causes lung diseases, lung tissue damage and reduction of lung function.

According to environment experts, several exemptions given by the government would limit the impact of odd-even in tackling pollution.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has set up data collection points at nine locations for the entire period of odd-even scheme.

“We follow the data from Central Pollution Control Board at some places and conduct our own assessment at other places,” a TERI official told IANS, while raising concern over the difference in data projections.

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