WHILE Delhi continues to be in the spotlight for its unhealthy air quality, its neighbour Gurgaon is not far behind. In response to an RTI by a city-based activist, the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) said Gurgaon’s air quality index (AQI) in October and November was relatively worse when compared to the rest of the year.
Incidentally, a recent survey of Gurgaon bureaucrats revealed that 68 per cent of them reported shortness of breath while 57 per cent showed reduced capacity of lungs.
According to the board’s response, the AQI for October was 152 — well within the unhealthy range of 151-200 as per the World Health Organisation’s benchmark and the national safe standard.
According to the pollution board’s Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Report, air quality in November took a turn for the worse as PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels shot up further.
“The levels of PM 10 and PM 2.5 exceeded the prescribed norms while other pollutants are well below the prescribed norm. In October, PM 10 was 153.60 per cent higher than the prescribed norm while PM2.5 was 125.8 per cent higher,” said the response from the pollution board.
In October, PM 10 levels was 256.36 micrograms per cubic metre (g/m3) while PM 2.5 level reached 114.52 g/m3. In November, PM 10 level touched 361.63 g/m3 whereas PM 2.5 levels were 114.52 g/m3.
However, officials feel Gurgaon’s air is better in comparison to neighbouring areas.
“Gurgaon has not been included in the real time monitoring of AQI as conditions are controlled here. All air polluting units in Gurgaon, which mostly fall under the Orange and Green categories, have air pollution control measures in place. Diesel-run share autos are mainly responsible for pollution,” said a senior scientist at HSPCB.
Meanwhile, citizens have resorted to protective measures against the noxious air by installing air-purifiers in their homes and offices. Vijay Kannan of Blueair air purifiers said the demand for the device increased five-fold post Diwali, mostly because of perpetual construction work in the city.
However, pulmonologists feel that it will require years of research to know if air purifiers actually work. “There has been an increase of about 20-25 per cent in the number of patients complaining of various respiratory problems post Diwali…. The concept of indoor air quality is new. Air-purifiers may help to control the air we breathe inside, there is no scientific evidence that it can improve overall air quality,” said Dr Himanshu Garg, a pulmonologist at Artemis hospital.