Dusty Winds, Forest Blooming Responsible for Guwahati’s Poor Air Quality During Lockdown
GUWAHATI: Even though Guwahati has been under lockdown since March 24, it has had no effect on bettering the air quality, as has been witnessed in parts of the country.
This was revealed in a recent report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which studied the impact of Janata Curfew and lockdown on air quality in different cities.
Experts have attributed this to the current dusty environment and forest blooming which results in pollen being scattered in the air.
“In this season, Guwahati usually records a higher AQI as compared to the other months. This is mainly due to the dusty winds, riverbed dust and the ongoing forest blooming,” said Umesh Das, head, central laboratory at the Pollution Control Board of Assam.
He added that since there is negligible traffic movement, no vehicular emissions and industries are shut, the level of gases in the air has become better and the poor air quality is due to higher PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels.
It is to be mentioned that during this period, Delhi has continuously recorded better air quality than Guwahati.
According to the report, while a majority of cities recorded better quality on the next day of the Janata Curfew (March 23), Guwahati’s air quality index was worse on that day as compared to the previous day. The city recorded an AQI of 218 and 231 on March 22 and March 23 respectively.
On the other hand, up to 44% reduction in PM10 levels was observed in Delhi during March 22-23, as compared to the previous day.
However, Guwahati along with Lucknow, Muzaffarpur, Kalyan and Singrauli were under ‘poor’ category during March 25-28.
Air quality index is used to define the pollution levels in the air by measuring different atmospheric pollutants such as PM 2.5, PM 10, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone (O3).
The AQI between 0 and 50 is considered good, 51-100 falls under the moderate category, while an AQI of 101-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups and 151-200 falls under the unhealthy category.
As per the CPCB data, as on April 5 at 4 PM, the AQI of Guwahati was 159 which was again poorer than a majority of cities including Delhi which recorded an AQI of 102, while Faridabad’s air quality stood at 117.
Out of the 104 cities, Guwahati was among the 22 cities which recorded poor air quality index.
Further, Ludhiana and Pune were among cities which recorded ‘good’ air quality with AQI of 39 and 48 respectively.