IIT Kanpur study finds presence of PAH in Delhi’s air
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New Delhi: An Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur study has found alarming details on Delhi’s air pollution, including the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), that are extremely toxic chemicals and a product of emissions from diesel-run vehicles among others.
Apart from PAH, the draft report, that has been submitted to the Supreme Court, identifies the sources of suspended particulate matter PM 2.5, namely road dust (38%), vehicles (20%), domestic fuel burning (12%) and industrial point sources (11%).
Anumita Roychowdhury, head of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE’s) clean air campaign, said that even traces of PAH, which is anyway found in “very small quantity”, can be extremely deadly and can reach harm to a foetus as well.
“PAH are toxic gases and a potent carcinogen, meaning exposure to them can cause cancer. It comes mainly from sources that use diesel as fuel which include diesel-run cars, gen sets, trash burning,” she said.
The government has submitted the draft report of the study, that was commissioned in 2013, to the apex court. But it has not yet been made public. Sources in the government expressed their “displeasure” over the report not being made public, which they said is resulting in it not getting public feedback and leaving room for speculations.
Pollution experts said that the presence of PAH is alarming also because it makes particulate matters such as PM 2.5 and PM 10, which are already present in large amounts in the city’s air, more deadly. “This is because these particles, which can embed themselves deep in the respiratory system, can carry with the toxic gases inside inflicting more harm,” Roychowdhury said.