While Delhi-NCR has long been in the spotlight for its air quality concerns, Uttar Pradesh is now facing a similar crisis. This article delves into the recent deterioration of air quality in Uttar Pradesh, which has led to several cities in the state experiencing ‘Severe’ air pollution. Beyond blaming stubble burning, experts are looking at other contributing factors, including vehicular emissions and the onset of winter.
Air Quality in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh’s air quality is a cause for concern, with Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, and Noida registering Air Quality Index (AQI) readings in the ‘Severe’ category.
This alarming situation is not limited to the NCR region, as cities like Baghpat, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Meerut, Khurja, Muzaffarnagar, and Gorakhpur also grapple with poor to very poor air quality.
Stubble Burning and UP Government
While the UP government has highlighted a decrease in stubble burning cases, it has shifted the blame to neighboring states like Punjab and Haryana.
The government believes that the practice of stubble burning in these states significantly impacts the air quality in Delhi and UP.
However, the scientific community points to additional contributing factors.
Impact of Approaching Winters
Experts argue that the deteriorating air quality in UP can be attributed, in part, to the approaching winter season.
Lower atmospheric pressure during winter can trap suspended particulate matter like PM2.5 and PM10 in the lower layers of the atmosphere, exacerbating pollution levels.
Researchers at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) in Lucknow identify vehicular emissions as a significant factor contributing to high pollution levels in UP.
The increasing number of vehicles on the state’s roads, particularly in Lucknow, has intensified pollution.
Collective Action Needed
To combat this growing air quality crisis, experts emphasize the need for collective efforts. They propose allowing only BS-V compliant vehicles to operate due to their lower emissions and promoting the adoption of electric vehicles.
Additionally, they recommend regular vehicle inspections, water sprinkling on roads, and wet sweeping to improve air quality.