New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) The air pollution took a downward dip during the first 10 days of the Odd-Even scheme but registered a sudden spike from April 22 onwards possibly due to farm fires in Punjab and Haryana, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has said in a report.
In its report on air pollution during the second phase of odd and even traffic restrictions from April 15 to April 30, the CSE said the “air pollution took a downward dip during the first 10 days of the scheme but registered a sudden spike from April 22 onwards”.
“Further investigations and analysis of NASA satellite pictures has exposed massive crop fires in Punjab and Haryana that started around April 19 — which could be the reason behind the rise in pollution levels,” read the report.
“Pollution level declined during the initial phase of odd-and-even for the first nine days — between April 15 and April 23, PM2.5 levels declined substantially compared to the previous fortnight,” the CSE said.
“The average PM2.5 level during the first nine days was 24 percent lower than the average of the previous fortnight,” it added.
“PM2.5 and NO2 suddenly spiked post-April 23 and continued till April 30. There is a distinct and sudden spike of pollution after April 23 when PM2.5 increased by as much as 92 percent and NO2 by 47 per cent,” the report stated.
In fact, air quality index reported for the key north Indian cities including Delhi, Faridabad, Agra and Lucknow shows an overall increase in PM2.5 after April 26. Within a day, the Air Quality Index (AQI) worsened by 22 to 20 percent by April 26. The AQI of Delhi worsened by 16 percent, it added.
The report says what is damaging is that in the absence of clear explanation of the reasons for the pollution spike towards the end of the scheme, it has led to “the misleading conclusion that odd-and-even has not made any impact”.