Noida: The air quality index (AQI) on Tuesday was at least 50 points lower in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad, compared to the same day last year.
Although all three cities remained in the “poor” AQI range, marked improvement was noticed at Sector 62, which is an industrial hub. Last year on October 22, the AQI was at 290, on Tuesday, it was at 200. Sector 125, which is considered a polluted area in Noida, was at 267 last year on October 22. On Tuesday, it was at 204.
“This year is significantly better than last year and we are getting into the Diwali season with a low pollutant load. Also, the festival is in October this year, unlike in November, when it was last year, so the farm fire issue is not acute right now. Some stations are showing 50-60 points difference, on the lower side, compared to last year and we can count it as an improvement,” said Anil Singh, regional officer, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Gautam Budh Nagar.
The UPPCB said that pre-Diwali weather is good in comparison to last year and the prevailing easterlies indicate that dispersion of particulate matter would be faster this year.
“The improvement is the result of our on-ground control combined with the prevailing weather conditions. The easterlies is leading to fast dispersion of the pollutants,” said Utsav Sharma, environment engineer, UPPCB, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad.
While an AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, between 51 and 100 it is considered “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 rane is “moderate”, 201 and 300 is the “poor” range, 301 and 400 is the “very poor” band, and 401 and 500 suggests “severe” pollution. GRAP measures to curb air pollution include increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping the use of diesel gensets when the air quality turns “poor”. When it turns “severe”, GRAP suggests the closure of brick kilns, sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised road cleaning and maximising power generation from natural gas.
“In addition to ground level controls and weather conditions, what has also made a difference this year is reduction in construction activity in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad,” Sharma said.