Indore: The city’s pollution level remained ‘locked’ even two months after the city was unlocked following the lifting of the Corona Curfew. The city’s air quality index (AQI) rose above 100 only twice in the past two and a half months and remained at a satisfactory level. However, on the eve on the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, experts believe that a lot needs to be done to put a check on air pollution in the city. It is the second time that the day is being observed across the globe and this year’s theme is ‘Healthy Air, Healthy Planet’.
“Indeed, the air quality of the city has improved and the AQI didn’t cross the 100-AQI mark in the past two and a half months, except for a couple of days. Moreover, the AQI increased only to 104 on August 28 and 126 on July 22 in the past two months. The AQI remained the highest on May 9 but didn’t rise to a level where it should cause concern as it reached only 137,” retired chief chemist of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board and pollution control expert Dr DK Wagela said.
The AQI had increased to the “poor level” in April and went over 250 even after the total lockdown, which had become a matter of concern for the authorities.
‘Gusty winds & showers’
"The AQI has decreased below 100 due to the monsoon rainfall activities, including gusty winds and showers, which kept the pollutants to the ground. In April, the level of pollution had shot up due to the absence of wind activity and increasing temperature causing pollutants to settle. I believe that the administration should work together with NGOs, IMC, and Pollution Control Board to run various activities for spreading awareness among the people to check pollution levels in the city as AQI should be made to decrease below 30-35," said Dr Wagela on reasons for low AQI.
Conservation of trees and greenery a must
Former principal of Gujarati Science College and environmentalist Dr OP Joshi said that Indore is the only city in the country selected for the Clean Air Catalyst Programme and the administration should take steps to keep maintaining the city’s clean air. Steps suggested by Dr Joshi include:
1. Ban on consumption of hard fuel and promoting liquid and gas fuel in hotels and dhabas
2. Converting all public transport vehicles to electric and CNG
3. Banning 15-20 years old vehicles from plying, improving left turns, and installing timers at traffic signals to prevent vehicular pollution
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