The survey was conducted at the request of the Gwalpahari-based IT-ITES SEZ, ASF Insignia, at three areas — Cyber City, Gwalpahari and Iffco Chowk, over four days between November 22 and November 30 (24 hours, 2pm-2pm each day). In the end, the average concentration of PM2.5 at the Cyber City junction was reported to be 348 micrograms per cubic metre (g/m3). At Iffco Chowk, it was 308g/m3 and near the ASF Insignia office at Gwalpahari, it was 174g/m3. Iffco Chowk, however, led in the average PM10 levels, at 651g/m3. At all locations, other pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide were found within safe limits.
The PM10 reading across various locations ranged between 232g/m3 and 671g/m3, while the corresponding PM2.5 levels varied between 136g/m3 and 491g/m3. The results revealed that levels of particulate matter (both PM10 and PM2.5) at all three locations throughout the monitored period were above permissible limits (24-hour industrial/residential standard), of 100g/m3 for PM10 and 60g/m3 for PM2.5.
According to Ved Prakash, research analyst at Teri, methods followed for measuring pollutants were in accordance with guidelines. “Pollutants were measured as per guidelines laid down by BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) and CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board). While fine particulate samplers were used to measure PM levels, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, portable hand-held Q-track monitors were used to measure carbon monoxide,” he said.
Experts blamed traffic congestion for the high PM2.5 at Cyber City. “The Cyber City junction witnesses the maximum jams, particularly during peak hours. Due to unavailability of public transport from New Gurgaon to Udyog Vihar, many diesel autos and taxis take a halt here, which raises PM levels. Incidentally, Iffco Chowk faces similar traffic jams every day, and displays equally poor results, but the neighbouring Aravalis green belt appears to help keep Gwalpahari the least polluted area, despite widespread construction activities on nearby Gurgaon-Faridabad road,” said Niranjan Raje, former member of Environment Pollution Control Authority.
Chairman Anil Saraf of ASF Insignia, who sanctioned the survey, said, “The objective was to find out quality of air our location provides to employees. We’re glad our green initiatives and vast tracts of Aravalis around Gwalpahari have kept air pollution down in and around our office.”