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Morning drizzle spares city air quality blushes

 


The Times of India, New Delhi, 27th January, 2015

 

The air on Monday around India Gate was relatively clean, thanks to unexpected rain during the Republic Day parade. Even though the PM2.5 (fine, respirable particle) level was high between 6 and 6.30am--at about 200 micrograms per cubic metre, it had begun to fall by 9.30am, at 11am it was 107 micrograms--less than twice the Indian safe standard of 60 micrograms. Only a cloudy sky and the drizzle partially affected the experience.

 

Favourable meteorology thus helped the government avoid the embarrassment of severe air pollution during US President Barack Obama's visit with an assessment by Gufran Beig, project director, System of Air quality Weather Forecasting and Research, claiming the 24-hour average on 26 January was only at 80 micrograms per cubic metre.Delhi Pollution Control Committee's real time air quality monitoring, however, suggested that the levels, measured at the station closest to central Delhi, were just over 100 micrograms per cubic metre. Traffic volume, too, was low today .

 

Short-term exposure to pollution levels such as those in Delhi today cannot do significant harm to health, say experts, and so the US delegation may not be affected. But air pollution is considered an issue of international debate owing to its impact on the health of those who are consistently be ing exposed to very bad air.

 

Experts, meanwhile, say air pollution this winter has been one of the worst seen so far. PM2.5 levels on some days in early December were as high as 400 micrograms per cubic metre, about six times the Indian standard, and 11 times the US safe standard of 35 micrograms per cubic metre.

 

According to Global Burden of Disease’s 2010 report, air pollution is the fifth largest killer in India. The report found that, in 2010, about 6,20,000 premature deaths occurred in India due to pollu tion-related diseases. The World Health Organization urban air quality database last year showed Delhi to be having the highest PM2.5 levels among 1,600 global cities including Beijing.

 

In fact, an indoor air purifier company even claimed in a statement on January 24 that the US Embassy in Delhi has purchased several air purifiers to tackle indoor air pollution.Last year Delhi and Beijing were embroiled in major debate about which city is more polluted.

 

Some Chinese cities have PM2.5 levels comparable to Delhi. Chinese authorities reportedly blocked air pollution data during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit in November last year which Obama and Vladimir Putin attended because the particulate matter levels were extremely high.

 

In a joint statement with PM Narendra Modi, Obama said the US has agreed to provide data to track and reduce air pollution levels in India.


 
http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31808&articlexml=Morning-drizzle-spares-city-air-quality-blushes-27012015005025