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IIT Kanpur study 'clears the air' on Delhi pollution crisis

January 1, 2016 10:15 AM |

Delhi air pollutionNew Year 2016 is finally here and the residents of Delhi are busy with preparations on two fronts. Arrangements are being made for New Year outings, but the buzz is split up between January 1, and Delhi’s ‘odd-even formula’.

Starting today, Delhiites will have to pick up their car keys on the basis of odd and even number plates. The world’s most polluted city will plant the seeds for cleaner air this New Year. However, as per a study carried out by IIT-Kanpur, road dust emerges as the biggest threat to decent air quality levels in Delhi.

The study also revealed that road dust, burning of biomass, industrial stacks, and municipal solid waste contributed a greater share in the city’s air pollution, as compared to pollution due to vehicular emission.

Particulate matter levels, both PM 2.5 and PM 10, received major contributions from road dust. While 56% of all PM 10 pollution was due to road dust; around 38% PM 2.5 pollution was also due to road dust.

Interestingly, vehicular pollution too contributed 9 to 20% of the particulate matter pollution. Other important factors were biomass burning (17 to 26%), incineration of municipal solid waste (6 to 7%), and secondary particulate matter (settling between 25 to 30%).

ALSO READ: Air pollution in Mumbai points towards possible crisis

The study does not, in any way, hold that the current ‘odd-even formula’ will be insignificant for Delhi’s fight towards cleaner air. But it does outline the role of road dust in polluting the national capital’s air. If vehicular emissions are a priority for the Kejriwal government in Delhi, then road dust must be second on that list.

A number of eco-friendly measures have been taken by Delhi government to control environmental damage across the national capital. At a time when the administration as well as media is focusing on air pollution in Delhi, it won’t be a bad idea to launch another major initiative for controlling road dust as well.

(Featured Image Credit: Reuters)






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