The average levels of various pollutants, including PM10, PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide, in Delhi last year were the lowest since 2014. Not only that, the average level of major pollutants have been steadily decreasing over the years in the national capital over the years, states the recent Delhi Economic Survey report. The report was presented by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the Delhi Assembly on Monday.
The annual average concentrations of PM2.5, fine particulate matter that is about three per cent the diameter of a human hair decreased from 149 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m3) in 2014 to 101 µg/m3 in 2020, the report said. High concentration of this fine particulate matter can cause premature deaths due to heart and lung diseases.
Similarly, PM10 also fell from 324 µg/m3 in 2014 to 187 µg/m3 in 2020. In the last six years, Nitrogen Dioxide's annual average concentration has decreased from 82.45 µg/m3 to 40.30 µg/m3. PM6 levels below 40 µg/m3 and PM10 levels below 100 µg/m3 are considered safe in India.
Even the yearly average of carbon monoxide concentration has came down to 1.27 mg/m3 in 2020, as compared to 2.07 mg/m3 in 2017, the highest in the last seven years. The safe limit for CO levels is 2 mg/m3.
However, no significant variation was observed in the annual average value for Sulphur dioxide, which emanates during the burning of fossils fuels during the same period. The annual average for SO2 in Delhi at all the monitoring locations is within the prescribed standard i.e 50µg/m3, it said.
Various studies conducted in during the covid19 induced lockdowns have shown that air pollution levels have fallen significantly across the world due to the reduced traffic and restricted industrial activity.