Neighbouring States Behind Delhi’s Air Pollution

Neighbouring States Behind Delhi’s Air Pollution

Neighbouring States Behind Delhi’s Air Pollution
(Dreamstime)

Delhi’s fight with air pollution goes on amid several partially implemented measures to tame it. And, the neighbours are only making matters for the national capital. According to a study by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Automotive Research Institute of India (ARAI), 64 per cent of the city's air pollution is caused by external factors.

The study also indicates which sectors contribute the highest to air pollution in Delhi. The study involves using the dispersion method which is adopted to develop and test appropriate strategies to control pollution in the state. The receptor model involves collection of particulate samples at 20 predefined locations. It is by far a good experiment to analyse sectorial contribution of pollution.

Here is what came of these experiments.

Delhi's PM2.5 Contributions [in %] in both seasons

Dispersion Model

Receptor Model

Transport Sector

17-28%

20-30%

Industries

22-30%

20%

Biomass Burning

14-15%

16-23%

Dust [Soil, Road & Construction]

17-38%

16-35%

Other sources

8-11%

9-11%

 As for PM10 levels, here is what the experiment revealed. 

Delhi’s PM10 Contributions [in %] in both seasons

Dispersion Model

Receptor Model

Transport Sector

15-24%

17-25%

Industries

22-27%

19-20%

Biomass Burning

14-15%

13-15%

Dust

25-41%

31-43%

Others

7-10%

7-10% 

The daily permissible level of PM2.5 and PM10 are 60 g/m3 and 100 g/m3, respectively, as per the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. But, the average (summer-winter) of PM2.5 stood at 109 μg/m3 and PM10 levels stood at 134 μg/m3 in 2016. If environment-friendly norms are implemented, for example, such as BS-VI norms, LPG penetration, gaseous pollutant control standards in industries, zig-zag technology for brick kilns, etc., the pollution levels can be brought down to an extent. But, the study says that by 2030, PM10 levels may go up to 165 μg/m3 while PM2.5 levels may also jump to 118 μg/m3. In short, far more needs to be done if pollution has to be managed.

 The study also reveals that the average contribution of Delhi's own emissions in Delhi PM2.5 concentrations was found to be at 36 per cent in the winter and 26 per cent in the summer with variations in different places of the city. In a previous study, TERI also said that regions beyond the national capital region contribute up to 40 per cent of the particulate matter in Delhi’s air, where crop residue burning scores as a major contributor. 

“We must realise that a well-rounded action plan for Delhi can never be fully implemented if the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have no plans of their own to improve air quality. For that, coordination between the state governments is prime,” says R Suresh, area convener, Centre for Environmental Studies.

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