Delhi pollution down, claims Sisodia

New Delhi: Based on a pollution report that does not includes the top polluting areas of the city, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on WEdnesday said the pollution levels in 2017 were lowest in past five years.

Sisodia was citing a report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a copy of which is with IANS, that compares the effluents levels of six regions across Delhi — Pitampura, Sirfort, Janakpuri, Nizamuddin, ShahzadaBagh and Shahdara, from 2013 to 2017.

However, top polluting areas, where air quality has ranged from “severe to severe plus” for most of the polluting days throughout the year, were not considered.

According to records, the areas recording the most pollution include Anand Vihar in east Delhi, Mathura Road and R.K. Puram in sourth Delhi, Mandir Marg and ITO crossing in central Delhi, ISBT Kashmiri Gate and Delhi University North Campus in north Delhi, and Punjabi Bagh in west Delhi.

“According to CPCB data, in 2017, annual average of pollution levels of PM2.5 and PM10 is lowest in the past five years,” Sisodia said.

At present, CPCB has a netweork of 17 pollution monitoring stations across different areas of Delhi. The report however focused only on the six under national air quality monitoring (NAMP) stations, that showed minor improvement.

“The data (of report) is from the manual monitoring that CPCB has been doing since 2013,” CPCB scientist and spokesperson D Saha told IANS.

The CPCB report included four major pollutants, namely sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matters PM2.5 and PM10, or particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 and 10 micrometres.

The report showed that the annual average PM2.5 and PM10, at those six areas, though increased drastically from 2015 to 2016 but then dropped from 2016 towards 2017.

The average PM2.5 and PM10 were 119 microgrammes per cubic meters and 301 units in 2016 against 101 units and 260 units in 2017.

However, according to 2017 figures, PM2.5 ranged from “very poor (300 units) to “severe plus” (above 300 to 350 units) during the polluting days or air pollution situation at top polluting regions, especially Anand Vihar, Kashmiri Gate and North Campus.

Sisodia said that diesel consumption in the city has decreased by 16 per cent, registration of new vehicles decreased by 11 per cent and green cover has increased by 600 hectares, and these have helped to decrease the pollution levels.