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Air pollution graph slowly on the rise in J&K

November 2, 2023

SRINAGAR: Come winter, there is an air of concern in Jammu and Kashmir. 

An AQI dashboard has revealed that air pollution is at a moderate level in the twin cities of Srinagar and Jammu. Data reveals that the AQI-US level was 70, while it touched 91 in Jammu. AQI level was hovering around 84 in Bandipora. In Udhampur, it was recorded at 70.

Likewise, PM2.5 and PM10 were recorded as 22 and 60 respectively in Srinagar. In Jammu, PM2.5 and PM10 were 31 and 62 respectively. Similarly, PM2.5 and PM10 were 28 and 24 respectively in Bandipora.

The dashboard said air quality in Baramulla, Handwara, Kulgam, Rajouri, and Sopore was good and within permissible limits.

Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board (PCB) Vasu Yadav said overall the air quality level is normal barring seasonal variations.

“Normally AQI remains in good to moderate category. There is a slight increase due to weather conditions. If there is a prolonged dry spell or wind conditions are not favorable, it can increase slightly. Otherwise, it remains in the good category,” Yadav told The Kashmir Monitor.

PCB chairman said there are some seasons in a year when the AQI level increases. “It is more related to weather patterns, wind patterns, and local issues related to burning (crop stubble and leaves). The same happens in other states. Whatever seasonal patterns are in other states, are observed here also,” he said.

PCB has advised the people not to burn the crop stubble and instead compost it. “It is a harvesting season. We have urged people not to burn the stubble and instead compost it so that air quality is not affected,” said Yadav.

Last year, Srinagar’s air quality had deteriorated to an alarming level. Pollution Control Board (PCB) data accessed by The Kashmir Monitor revealed that the Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM or PM 10) levels at three stations have more than doubled in 2021-22. 

At the Raj Bagh station, the yearly average of PM-10 level is 139.26 against the standard limits of 2.5-40 ug/m3. Likewise, PM-10 level at Khonmoh station was recorded at 162.86 ug/m3.   Similarly, PM-10 level at Khrew was recorded at 132.65 ug/m3 in 2021-22. At Lasjan, RSPM (PM 10) level was 227.80 ug/m3.

Data from 2020-21 reveal that the RSPM levels at Raj Bagh, Khonmoh, Khrew, and Lasjan were 89.61 ug/m3, 163.97 ug/m3, 127.98 ug/m3 and 235.29 ug/m3 respectively.  In 2019-20,  the RSPM levels at Raj Bagh, Khonmoh, Khrew, and Lasjan were 73.88 ug/m3, 12-.03 ug/m3, 119.48 ug/m3, and 197.74 ug/m3 respectively.

Data collected by Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board (PCB) from April 2018 to March 2019 revealed that the average Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (PM 10) in the air near SKIMS, Soura was 72.69 micrograms per cubic meter, 32 micrograms more than the permissible limit. According to PCB, the permissible limit of RSPM for 24 hours is 60 micrograms per cubic meter while its limit for the whole year is 40 micrograms per cubic meter.

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