JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use the Site in standard view. However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser. To use standard view, enable JavaScript by changing your browser options.

| Last Updated:14/11/2018

Latest News

Archive

Air quality worst at night, early morning

 NEW DELHI: Delhiites may be exposed to the worst air pollution at night and early morning, indicates a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). CSE chose eight persons and monitored their exposure to pollution for 24 hours using a portable device. It also found that situation in the Lutyens' zone, where the rich and the powerful reside, is no better despite the greenery and sparse traffic.

The study found PM 2.5 (fine, respirable particulate) levels to be the highest at night and during hours when these people go for morning walk. In some cases, even indoor air quality was extremely poor.

The study involved monitoring the personal exposure of Bhure Lal, chairperson, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), a resident of Lodhi Estate, Harish Salve, senior Supreme Court advocate who lives in Vasant Vihar, Ashok B Lall, architect and resident of Civil Lines, Randeep Guleria, head of pulmonary medicine department at AIIMS, William Bissel, head of Fabindia and resident of Hauz Khas enclave. The group also had people who suffer from asthma—Bharati Chaturvedi who lives in Ravindra Nagar in central Delhi, head of Chintan, Kaushik Das Gupta, a journalist and Avikal Somvanshi, a research professional and cyclist.

The 24-hour average exposure of each individual was compared with the readings of the nearest monitoring station of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) which revealed that the real exposure levels were much higher than the official figures. Lal who lives in Lodhi Estate was monitored on November 12 to 13. The hourly average PM 2.5 level was the highest between 5.50am and 6.50am—at 1195.83 microgram per cubic metre. It was the time when he had gone for a walk in Lodhi Garden. To be doubly sure about pollution levels in Lodhi Garden, the CSE team monitored him again on December 8-9 when levels were found to be 672 microgram per cubic metre, still alarmingly high.

But on warm and sunny days PM 2.5 levels seem to improve. On December 2 for instance, Dr Guleria's 24-hour average exposure was 188 mg per cubic metre, about three times the safe standard.

The hourly average near the President's Estate between 8 and 9 am was 1,029 mg per cubic metre. Salve who lives near the Outer Ring Road and the Ridge in Vasant Vihar was exposed to the highest PM 2.5 level between 10 and 11pm on November 25 to 26 at 408 mg per cubic metre. The levels remained high through the night.

Asthmatics are already facing a tough winter. "I was having breathing problems. Doctors recently told me I am borderline asthmatic and may get better if I am in a city with lower pollution levels," he said. Sunita Narain, director general of CSE, said she had stopped going for morning walks.

"Our data shows that for a couple of years after introducing CNG the pollution levels had stabilized, but they started to rise steeply with the increase in the number of vehicles. Our soft options are over, we need tough measures now," Narain said.