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Delhi schools, colleges have much higher levels of pollutions: IIT Delhi study

According to the study, the concentration levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 in the buildings were recorded 2-5 times higher than the permissible limits set by the CPCB for ambient air quality in India

New Delhi: Schools and colleges in Delhi has a much higher pollution level that other category of buildings like cinema halls and restaurants, an indoor pollution survey by IIT Delhi has found

According to the study by the Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA) at the IIT, the concentration levels of PM 2.5 and and PM 10 in the buildings were recorded 2-5 times higher than the permissible limits set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for ambient air quality in India.

The study was conducted on total 37 buildings across Delhi including the schools, colleges, hospitals, shopping malls, restaurants, offices and cinema halls --considered to be the priority indoor environments, where chances of exposure to indoor air pollutants are maximum.

“The concentration of particulate matter (both PM10 and PM2.5) are recorded 2-5 times higher than the permissible limits set by Central Pollution Control Board for ambient air quality, 100 μg/m3 for PM10 and 60 μg/m3 for PM2.5 (NAAQS, 2009) in India and 10-15 times higher than the WHO 24 hours average limits for all the monitored buildings," IIT Delhi study said.

“The educational institutes (schools and colleges) top the list for high PM concentration. Despite ban on tobacco smoking in public spaces, it was observed that people were rampantly smoking in offices, hospitals and colleges," the survey added.

The carbon dioxide (CO2) levels were also recorded high in hospitals, colleges, offices as well as in restaurants due to higher occupancy and inadequate ventilation. Though schools too have higher occupancy but all the selected schools are naturally ventilated so CO2 levels are within the permissible limits except few exceptions.

The rampant use of chemical cleaning agents, floor cleaners and cooking oils were found to be behind high level of TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds)in hospitals and restaurants, it said.

“The deteriorated Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) with high levels of air pollutants can have much more severe impacts on the health of the people as almost 80-90 pc of our total time is spent in such buildings. World Health Organization (WHO) has designated indoor air pollution (IAP) as one of the four most critical global environmental problems in developing countries," the study said adding that far less attention has been paid to the issues in urban areas and there is need to monitor the indoor air quality regularly.

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