Despite reduced fire counts, air in Noida and Ghaziabad remains ‘very poor’

Even as the instances of stubble burning have reduced considerably over the past one week, the air quality in Ghaziabad and Noida remained in the ‘very poor’ category on Friday.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the air quality index (AQI) of Ghaziabad on Friday was 377 against 360 a day earlier. Similarly, the air quality in Noida and Greater Noida also worsened. While Noida recorded an AQI of 376 on Friday against 336 a day earlier, Greater Noida witnessed an AQI of 382 against 308 on Thursday, showed the CPCB data.

The condition has been persisting despite the share of stubble burning in PM2.5 has reduced and ranged from 12% to 2% during the period from November 14 to 19. On November 7, three days after Diwali, the share of farm fires had gone up to 48%, according to the data from the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar).

Officials of the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) said that different agencies in both Ghaziabad and Noida are regularly taking up pollution control measures.

“However, the prevailing conditions are due to trapped pollutants which are not getting dispersed due to low wind speed. The situation is likely to persist till November 21. We are awaiting orders from the state officials regarding the directions given by the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region. However, our ground level enforcement has been strengthened with regular inspections, including night inspections, by our teams,” said Utsav Sharma, regional officer of UPPCB.

Experts said that the government agencies have not done enough to deal with local pollution sources.

“The prevailing conditions are due to local pollutants. The officials are still waiting orders from the UP government after the CAQM recently issued renewed directions to take up stringent measures like stoppage of construction activities, closure of schools, among others,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city-based environmentalist.

Meanwhile, a forecast by Safar said on Friday that the AQI is expected to remain in ‘very poor’ category on Saturday even as the farm fire counts have reduced considerably.

“Local surface winds are low with moderate ventilation of near surface pollutants. From 21st onwards, surface winds are likely to be strong resulting in effective dispersion that improves air quality. Transport level winds are likely to be strong during November 21-23, flushing out locally emitted pollutants from Delhi to the south-east region that may improve air quality further to the lower end of ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’ in Delhi,” the forecast said.

It added that the effective farm fire count is 1,077 and its contribution to Delhi’s PM2.5 on Friday was negligible at 3%.

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Jitendra Kumar

Jitendra Kumar Born on October 10, 1990 an Indian author and activist from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.