Soon after the post Diwali pollution calamity in the national capital, a newly conducted study crowns Delhi as the pollution hotspot during the winter season. Winds that blow into the city, especially from Pakistan, Punjab and Haryana on one side and UP and Bihar from another, make it more pollution prone. The study also said that 46 per cent of Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) – tiny toxic dust particles – blows into the national capital from the northern part of India and Pakistan and 30 per cent from UP, Bihar and Uttarakhand. The facts and figures relieved in the study contradicts the statement made by Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave earlier this week, who said that Delhi was responsible for 80 per cent of pollution in the state.
The study was conducted by researchers Mohit Saxena, A Sharma, Saraswati, T K Mandal, S K Sharma, C Sharma from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Priyanka Saxena from National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
Going further, this study also found that a massive 72 per cent of Delhi’s wind during winters blows in from the northwest parts of India and Pakistan and the remaining 28 per cent from the Indo-Gangetic plains. The patterns of the wind blowing in summer, winters and monsoon are different which is why PM 2.5 travels, added the study.
“It is significant to mention that adjoining areas of Delhi are the industrial hubs, construction and agriculture zones, therefore these activities probably result in the inflow of a mixture of coarse and fine continental pollutant aerosols to the study area,” says the study.
The prime motto of the study was to understand the variations in the chemical compositions and physical properties of pollutants that hits Delhi from the dry and semi-dry regions depending upon the season. The samples used in the study was collected from NPL premises on Pusa Road, New Delhi between January 2013 and December 2014.
Earlier this year, NPL had also conducted a source apportionment study which showed that around 14 per cent of PM 2.5 in Delhi’s air is due to the massive biomass burnings. Pollution from Aerosols accounted for 21.3 per cent of PM 2.5 followed by vehicle emissions at 19.7 per cent and fossil fuel combustion at 13.7 per cent.