Srinagar’s air pollution surges significantly during winters

SRINAGAR: Quality of air in Srinagar has been alarmingly deteriorating during winters; data collected from air monitoring devices installed across city have depicted.
According to samples collected by J&K Pollution Control Board in Srinagar, air quality worsens as Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM)- a measure for air quality, doubles in winters.
According to data gathered from five sampling station across the city, a visible surge is witnessed October onwards.
As against a normal 60 RSPM microgram per metric cube (pg/m3) in 24 hours, in winter months it exceeds the permissible level, that experts blame on burning of firewood’s and other materials for heating besides a denser air that prevents dispersal.
The data reveals that in the winter of 2018 during the month of November the labs have shown air quality deteriorate mostly in Soura area, where Kashmir’s leading SKIMS Hospital is situated.
The highest level of pollution recorded at Soura where RSPM reached 153.34 pg/m3. It was followed by Hyderpora (Parrypora)where RSPM touched 153.01 pg/m3 . Later in the month of December the Hyderpora area recorded RSPM at 149.69 pg/m3. It was followed by Soura whereit was recorded 145.33 pg/m3.
This winter during the month of December 2019 like previous winters again a surge was visible.
The December data has shown that Rajbagh topped the pollution chart at 120.31 pg/m3, followed by Boulevard (Dalgate) were it was recorded 119.35 pg/m3 .
While in Jahangeer Chowk (Civil Secratate) it was recorded at 95.02 pg/m3 followed by Soura (SKIMS) where it was recorded 99.69 pg/m3.
Professor Shakeel Romshoo, head of department at Kashmir University’s Earth Sciences said that burning of leaves and farm fires is one of the causes for pollution level to increase. Besides use of firewood for heating purpose at homes and offices and use of the charcoal worsens the air quality, he added. Also, smoke emanating from vehicular traffic contributes to poor air quality.
According to Prof Romshoo, diffusion of the pollution occurs after winter because air is lighter and able to move.
However in summers the pollution levels in the Srinagar city have been recorded very low as compared to the winters, he added.

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