Thursday January 24, 2019

Kejriwal leads ‘Car Free Day’; pollution level drops by 60%

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: The city witnessed a 60 per cent drop in the air pollution on the first Car Free Day, said a report released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Thursday.

The car-free initiative as well as the low traffic load on Dussehra has helped lower the pollution levels and toxic exposure in the city.

“Today (Thursday), the air particulate matter (PM 2.5) was 265 micrograms per cubic metre (cu m) in comparison to a normal day, when the particulate normally was 689 micrograms per cu m,” said the report released on Thursday evening.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for people’s health when its levels in the air are high.

PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee too has supported the CSE report and has observed overall drop of 45 percent in PM2.5 level in the city.

The car-free day in Delhi was observed on the stretch between Red Fort and India Gate with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal leading a cycle rally in the morning.

“This initiative of the Delhi government has only helped to prove how the growing car numbers in the city aggravate toxic pollution. If these numbers are controlled, pollution can be lowered significantly,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director (research and advocacy), CSE.

The exposure monitoring on the road was carried out by CSE first on October 21, a regular day, and during the car-free event on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to social media to share the impact of car free day, saying we need to reduce traffic.

In the series of tweets, he said: “Almost 60 percent reduction in pollution noted on that road. It means traffic is main culprit. We have to reduce traffic.”

“Comfortable, reliable, accessible public transport system and better designed roads is the key. I’ll personally work on this,” he added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Air Pollution in Delhi Again Reaches ‘Severe’ Levels

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast light rainfall at isolated places in Delhi over the weekend which might bring down pollution levels

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Air Pollution
Delhi air pollution again reaches 'severe' levels. Pixabay

Owing to a rise in humidity and light winds, the overall air quality of the national capital slipped to the ‘severe’ zone on Saturday, despite the authorities predicting it would remain in the ‘very poor’ category.

“Calm winds along with a spike in humidity levels because of an induced Cyclonic Circulation over Northern Plains are the major contributors for a hike in pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas,” Mahesh Palawat, Director at private weather forecasting agency Skymet told IANS.

He said that the pollution levels might increase in the coming days as humidity levels are expected to go up due to rains in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

“Around January 13 and 14, moderate to dense fog is expected to make a comeback, which will result in high pollution levels and minimums will see a drop by a couple of degrees,” he said.

However, the Skymet Director said that post January 15, the air quality might start improving due to cold, north-westerly winds which will blow over the plains of the country.

The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), in its daily pollution analysis, has been maintaining that the air quality in Delhi won’t go beyond the ‘very poor’ category.

Delhi. air pollution
A man rides his bicycle in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, Dec. 26, 2018. VOA

On Saturday however, many areas in Delhi and adjoining areas at 12 p.m recorded ‘severe’ levels of toxic particulate matter (PM) 2.5.

Anand Vihar at 448, Dwarka sector-8 at 450, ITO at 413, Mundka at 438, Delhi University North Campus at 416, R.K. Puram at 415, and Wazirpur at 434 – all recorded ‘severe’ levels of PM2.5.

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Other areas like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Ashok Vihar, Burari Crossing, Vivek Vihar, Sirifort, Okhla Phase-2 also fared in the same category.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Delhi-NCR witnessed its first better days of the year with the air quality recorded in the ‘poor’ zone.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast light rainfall at isolated places in Delhi over the weekend which might bring down pollution levels. (IANS)