Dushyant Singh Pundir
Chandigarh, December 7
The ambient air quality of the city has deteriorated in the past three years, reveals data shared by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.
In reply to a question raised in the Lok Sabha, Choubey stated the ambient air quality status in Chandigarh during 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23 with respect to annual average PM10 concentration was 90, 97 and 116, respectively.
PM10 is the particulate matter 10 micrometres or less in diameter. These are inhalable into lungs and can induce adverse health effects.
The minister said the government had launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in 2019 as a national-level strategy to reduce air pollution levels across the country.
In 2022-23, an amount of Rs 23.52 lakh was allocated to the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee under the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP) for carrying out air quality monitoring through monitoring stations, the minister said, adding the fund was fully utilised by March 31, 2023. The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change had launched the NCAP in January 2019 to tackle the problem of air pollution in a comprehensive manner with targets to achieve 20 to 30 per cent reduction in PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations by 2024, with respect to base year 2017-18, in non-attainment and million plus cities, including Chandigarh, he stated.
Subsequently, the target has been revised to achieve up to 40 per cent reduction or achieve the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in terms PM concentrations by 2025-26.
The air quality in the city deteriorated with the average air quality index (AQI) up to 240 was recorded on November 10 and it remained in the “poor” category for several days around Diwali, causing breathing discomfort to residents, especially elderly, children and patients. The city’s air quality dipped from the “very poor” to “severe” category on Diwali night.
Poses risk to residents
- Avg concentration of PM10 in city was 90, 97 and 116 in 2020-21, 2021-22 & 2022-23, respectively
- PM10 is particulate matter 10 micrometres or less in diameter. These are inhalable into lungs and can induce adverse health effects
High vehicular activity
A city-based environment expert says the UT’s AQI is mainly influenced by vehicular activity, which has increased over the years, leading to a rise in exhaust.
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