Pollution at Civil Lines a worry, govt calls IIT-Kanpur

Levels of sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide are under control across city, but very high in civil lines area

The Civil Lines air quality monitoring station has shown an unexplained rise in the level of two pollutants over the past two years.

This beats common theories on air pollution in the city, which was under a thick blanket of smog from late October to the first week of November. The smog may have led to a high concentration of particulate matter, but the phenomenon of localised and "erratic" rise in carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide has foxed experts.

Scientists at the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) said the "erratic" pattern began in 2010-11, but has remained persistently high over the past year.

IIT-Kanpur has been asked to monitor air quality in the city and find the reason behind this phenomenon.

"The levels (of carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide) in this zone are well within national standards, but there is a marked variation from the rest of the city. The only (air quality monitoring) station with comparable values is IGI Airport, where turbine fuel emission is a regular feature. So, we cannot take this into consideration," DPCC scientist Dr M P George said.

Scientists tried to find a correlation between the Civil Lines station and its proximity to the Ridge area and the Yamuna. But no conclusive evidence has been found.

"We feel that some special phenomenon in the Ridge area or the flooding of the Yamuna banks could have a role. But we need conclusive evidence. IIT-Kanpur has been asked to investigate this phenomenon in their study of air quality," Dr George said.

Though the levels of all pollutants had peaked during the October 28-November 8 smog period, the level of carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide at Civil Lines has been quite high compared to the rest of the year, the scientists said.

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