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Chandigarh

Posted at: Oct 15, 2019, 7:49 AM; last updated: Oct 15, 2019, 7:49 AM (IST)

City’s air quality going down

AQI 160, worst of season, recorded; burning fields blamed

Ramkrishan Upadhyay

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 14

The air quality of the city has started showing a sign of deterioration. From satisfactory last night, the air quality index (AQI) has almost touched the poor level this evening.

The Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) recorded the AQI 160 on Monday evening, which is the highest of the season.

Air pollution is a mix of particles and gases. Five major pollutants, namely ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, decide the AQI. Increased AQI meant higher rate of heart disease, stroke, and respiratory diseases such as asthma. Air pollution can also cause short-term problems such as sneezing and coughing, irritation in eyes, headache, and dizziness.

Particulate matter smaller than 10 micrometers (classified as PM 10) and the even smaller PM 2.5 pose higher health risk because these can be breathed deeply into the lungs and may cross into the bloodstream.

The PM 2.5 reached the maximum of 240 and the PM 10 190 today, much higher than normal.

As per the CPCC, AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

Moderate AQI can cause breathing discomfort to people with lungs and heart-related ailments. If AQI crosses the 200 mark, it falls in the category of poor, which results in severe health problems. The CPCC measures AQI at five places — Panjab University, Sector 17, IMTECH-39, Kaimbwala village and Sector 50.

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