Pollution build up in recent days corresponded with peak traffic hours and freight movement
The dense smog enveloping Delhi over the past few days lifted partially on November 6, but it may return with renewed vigour, as the factors causing it remain in force, warned Delhi non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
CSE has reviewed the magnitude and severity of the smog. Its researchers say that while every winter, the calm and cool weather leads to a heavier pollution load on Delhi, this year, the capital is seeing a massive growth in actual pollution levels. The levels of respirable particulate matter (PM10) have surged 47 per cent—from 191 microgramme per cubic metre in 2000 to 281 microgramme per cubic metre in 2011. In the same period, nitrogen dioxide levels have increased from 41.8 microgramme per cubic metre to 66 microgramme per cubic metre (a 57 per cent jump).
This hike in pollution levels has led to the creation of the deadly smog. Says Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director in charge of the air pollution and transportation programme at CSE: “Unfortunately, despite the scary hard facts about the elevated cocktail of pollution and health risks, the problem is being dismissed as a mere weather phenomenon. In other parts of the world, governments issue warnings and take pollution emergency measures during such severe pollution episodes to protect public health. But we are doing nothing.”
The pollution build up corresponds with peak traffic hours and freight movement. Data from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee in different localities shows that pollution levels go up significantly during peak traffic hours compared to off-peak hours. For instance:
In R K Puram, Mandir marg and Civil Lines, both PM 2.5 and NOx concentrations are high during peak hours.
Pollution levels are extremely high in Anand Vihar which witnesses very heavy traffic due to a lot of inter-state movement of vehicles.
In Civil Lines, PM2.5 levels are very high even during night; this could be due to the movement of goods traffic
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