India Residents of Gurugram woke up to a thick blanket of smog on Wednesday as PM 2.5 levels registered a several fold increase over the past 24 hours due to low temperature and low wind speed. The haze remained throughout the day reducing visibility to a few hundred metres.
As per figures from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), PM 2.5 concentration reached 646.2 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3) on Wednesday evening up from 108.95 ug/m3 a day ago. A day before Diwali, October 30, the PM 2.5 level was 67.66 ug/m3 slightly above the safe limit of 60 ug/m3.
Pollutants are accumulating in the air due to high humidity, low temperature and low wind speed. The wind is blowing at a speed of just 0.3 metres per second and is unable to disperse the pollutants. If the sun doesnt shine bright on Thursday, the situation will get worse, said HSPCB regional officer Bhupinder Singh.
Mr. Singh, however, rubbished perception that the rise in PM 2.5 levels was caused due to burning of stubble in Haryana and Punjab. Stubble burning is reported in only a few parts of Pataudi in Gurugram. Moreover the wind is blowing at a very low speed and it is unlikely that the smoke particles would have travelled from far-off areas to the city. It is a cumulative effect of existing pollution and fireworks, said Mr. Singh.
Dr. Rajesh Kumar, senior consultant at Paras Hospital, said: The hospital has witnessed a 15 per cent spike in patients with respiratory problems over the past two days. People are complaining of sore throat, difficulty in breathing and asthma attack. Even healthy people are feeling irritation in the throat. It is bound to happen with pollution rising to such dangerous levels.
He added that the situation was worse this time compared to previous years. People should wear masks and avoid early morning and late evening walks. In case of respiratory problem, consult a doctor before situation gets worse, said Dr. Kumar.