‘Rising pollutants in Delhi air pose challenge to odd-even attempt’

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New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) The second phase of odd-even scheme began with “polluted air” here, with the higher concentration of particulate matters (PM) and increased concentration of nitrogen dioxide in air, a TERI report claimed on Friday.

The particulate matters’ (PM) higher concentration, caused by the unfavourable winds, had violated the standards in Delhi and the National Capital Region. The PM are the pollutants responsible for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Meanwhile, the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in air had also increased at eight out of nine places in and around Delhi, except for Punjabi Bagh, where even after dropping, it still remains in hazardous slab, t he TERI report said. Nitrogen dioxide causes lung diseases, lung tissue damage and reduction of lung funtion.

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

“The odd-even scheme was found beneficial in reducing congestion, but with so many exemptions, this limited impact on the air pollutant concentrations as the share of private cars in overall inventory of pollution is low,” Sumit Sharma, from Centre for Environmental Studies, told IANS.

According to the reports, Anand Vihar has the most severe situation of the NO2 concentration. Bahadurgarh in the NCR towards Tikri border had the lowest and under control concentration of NO2.

However, its trend is showing some increment with passing days. The concentration in RK Puram had almost touched the red line.

The analysis is being carried by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) at nine locations for the entire period of odd-even scheme, and the Friday assessment was based on the data collected on Thursday.

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“PM 10 (particles with diameter less than 10 micrometre) and PM 2.5 (particles with diameter less than 2.5 micrometre) concentrations violated the standards at most places in Delhi and NCR. The concentrations are one to 2.3 times above the standard of PM 2.5, ” TERI said in a statement.

The analysis claimed that with contribution from Delhi’s “emissions”, the situation is even worse in the National Capital Region (NCR) towns like Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida where the pollutant level is even higher.

According to the earlier reports, the pollutant concentrations in Delhi came down last week due to higher wind speeds and enhanced vertical thermal diffusion, leading to better dispersion of pollutants and making it “breathable” for Delhi.

“However, now the concentrations are again violating the standards at most places in Delhi and NCR. Delhi’s air quality is being affected significantly by winds from north-west directions,” the statement said.

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TERI stated that the wind is predominantly blowing from north-west direction and carrying pollutants towards Delhi. Due to that the downwind towns in NCR show even higher pollutants level.

The NO2 concentration level at Mandir Marg in Delhi dropped drastically between April 9 to 11. However, it started increasing after that. The concentration falls under normal level at Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon.

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