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If Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) stats are to be believed, Gurgaon’s air quality nosedived in the last three days, with Wednesday recording PM2.5 at 444.34ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter of air) — unfortunately, the highest daily reading of PM2.5 recorded in the city for 2018 so far.
The CPCB’s latest Air Quality Index (AQI) notification, issued on June 12, said: PM2.5 is currently the primary air pollutant for Gurgaon, and its AQI score of 308 led the quality to be labeled as “very poor”.
And what’s the safe limit? According to CPCB, it’s 60ug/m3.
PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particles comprising pollutants such as nitrates and sulphates. Its level in the city has been plummeting since Tuesday when strong winds hit the city. The PM2.5 level on Tuesday was 267.23ug/m3. But this time, this severe decline in air quality is due to natural causes and not pollution, say experts.
The particles currently in the air are dirt and other inert materials, which don’t pose a major health problem. This spike in PM2.5 levels is more due to natural causes. Dr Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the regional weather forecasting centre in Delhi, further explained, “Rajasthan and Haryana have seen little rainfall this year. As a result, the topsoil is loose and is easily carried away by the wind. We are seeing anti-cyclonic winds blowing from this region towards Delhi, and they are carrying a lot of sand and dust with them.”
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) cautioned: Strong dust-raising winds, with speeds of 25-35 kmph, are likely to prevail over parts of northwest India, including Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh for the next three days.
Pollution / Central Pollution Control Board / CPCB / Air Quality Index / AQI / PM2.5 level / Dust Storm
Though inert materials, such as dust, don’t pose major threats, they can still cause irritation in lungs, eyes, and skin, believes Dr Piyush Goel, a Gurgaon-based pulmonologist.
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