Gurgaon: Scorching heat and lower than normal rainfall likely worsened air quality this June compared to the last year, with the city recording AQI as ‘satisfactory’ just once in the month, officials said on Thursday.
Last year, the city saw 8 June days when the 24-hour air quality index (AQI) was ‘satisfactory’.
At 207, the average AQI — or the levels of air pollutants — this year was also higher by around 25% as compared to June 2021, when it was 155.
Data by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) showed that this June, Gurgaon recorded AQI in — ‘satisfactory’ category for one day, 13 days as ‘moderate’, 12 as ‘poor’ and four as ‘very poor’.
The figures were different last June. It saw eight ‘satisfactory’ AQI days, 14 ‘moderate’ days, six ‘poor’ days and two ‘very poor’ days.
Pollution board officials said higher temperatures and low rainfall would have also led to an increase in emissions that contribute to air pollution.
“The region witnessed less rain, high temperature and more vehicular movement this year compared to last year in June, as a result the air quality of the city has deteriorated this time,” said Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, HSPCB, Gurgaon.
According to the India Meteorological Department, Gurgaon received 37.8mm rainfall in June, with 20% deficit from the normal (47.1mm). Temperatures also touched a high of 44.2 degrees Celsius this month. “Though there wasn’t a heatwave, the temperature was high if we see that the highest maximum average temperature in June is 42.8 degrees Celsius,” said Manmohan Singh, director of IMD-Chandigarh.
HSPCB’s analysis found that burning of garbage was among the key causes for deteriorating air quality this summer, apart from vehicular emissions that add toxic pollutants to the air.
Experts told TOI that particulate matter — tiny pollutants — in the atmosphere can increase from road dust that gets suspended in the air with hot and dry weather conditions.
“Higher pollution levels this June are largely attributable to the rise in dust contribution due to arid weather and less rainfall witnessed on account of the intense summer. The arrival of monsoon in the first week of July is expected to provide a brief respite and improve the air quality by settling down particulate matter. City authorities must focus on systemic solutions and ensure concerted action to sustain clean air throughout the year,” said L S Kurinji, programme associate at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
They also said the westerly wind, which brings dust into the region, could have contributed to air pollution.
“The meteorological conditions like dry weather also increased overall pollutants in the atmosphere. Dust from westerly wind creates a cocktail of pollutants in Gurgaon,” said Shubhansh Tiwari, a research associate at Amity Centre for Air Pollution Control.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered good, 51 and 100 satisfactory, 101 and 200 moderate, 201 and 300 poor, 301 and 400 very poor, and 401 and 500 severe.
Guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board say that AQI, even in the moderate category, can cause breathing problems for people suffering with asthma and other respiratory or heart ailments.

Source link