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Business News/ News / India/  Delhi sees concerning surge in NO2 pollution levels, shows CPCB data
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Delhi sees concerning surge in NO2 pollution levels, shows CPCB data

NO2, primarily stemming from vehicle emissions, indicates a persistent air quality issue in Delhi attributed to vehicular pollution.

Heavy smog in Mayur Vihar in New Delhi on Tuesday. (HT_PRINT)Premium
Heavy smog in Mayur Vihar in New Delhi on Tuesday. (HT_PRINT)

As the capital city grapples with high levels of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 pollution, another pollutant, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), is on the rise in Delhi, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

NO2, primarily stemming from vehicle emissions, indicates a persistent air quality issue in Delhi attributed to vehicular pollution. The city's economic survey for 2022-23 reported a staggering 7,917,898 registered vehicles in Delhi, with traffic extending from Gurugram, Faridabad in Haryana, and Noida and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, the Hindustan Times reported.

Also Read | Delhi-NCR Pollution: BS-III, BS-IV diesel vehicles banned in Gurugram, Faridabad as AQI worsens

Key Pollution Hotspots

Notably, the ITO traffic intersection, one of Delhi's busiest, is currently recording the highest NO2 levels in November, averaging 191µg/m3, over twice the daily safe limit. Nehru Nagar follows closely with 123 micrograms per cubic metre, and Okhla Phase-2 recorded an average NO2 concentration of 116µg/m3, it said.

CPCB data indicates a sharp rise in Delhi's average NO2 concentration in the first week of November, exacerbated by calm wind conditions since November 2.

The average NO2 concentration in this period was 54.7µg/m3, representing a 47 percent increase from the previous month's average of 37.3µg/m3. While the 24-hour concentration remains below the national standard of 80, the monthly average is more than double the World Health Organization's (WHO) limit of 25µg/m3.

Health Implications

Experts warn that prolonged exposure to high NO2 levels is linked to asthma and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections. Sunil Dahiya, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) told the paper that there is a need for sustained plans at congested intersections where levels exceed standards.

Track our Delhi, NCR Air Pollution LIVE Updates here

Dahiya emphasized that NO2 levels are rising due to calm wind conditions, preventing dispersion, and accumulating near the surface, particularly in traffic-congested areas. A similar trend was observed in October, with ITO recording an average NO2 concentration of 102µg/m3.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) noted a 60 percent increase in NO2 levels in Delhi compared to the first week of October, the report added. Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director of research and advocacy at CSE told the paper that there is an urgent need to address vehicular pollution, especially in high-traffic areas. She stressed the necessity of local interventions for efficient traffic dispersal in pollution hotspots.

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Published: 08 Nov 2023, 07:35 AM IST
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