A Digital India Initiative

Air Quality Analysis in Chandigarh

January 11, 2021

Case Study on Particulate matters (PM2.5 and PM10)

  1. Introduction:

Particulate matter (particle pollution or PM) indicates extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in air. This pollution mainly comes from motor vehicles, industries, stubble burning etc. During dust storms, particle pollution can reach extremely high concentrations. The size of particles affects their potential to cause health problems.

Pollution particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less are termed as PM2.5. These particles are so small they can get deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream. It is evident that exposure to PM2.5 over prolong period may cause adverse health effects. PM10 (particles with a diameter of 10 microns or less) particles are small enough to pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.

  1. Health Effects:

There are many health effects from exposure to particulate matters. Several studies have showed associations between exposure to PM particles and increased hospital admissions as well as death from heart or lung diseases. Short-term exposure, described in hours to days, can lead to irritation in eyes nose and throat, worsening asthma and lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, premature death due to diseases of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Long-term exposure or exposure for several years, can lead to reduced lung function, development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, increased rate of disease progression, reduction in life expectancy etc.

  1. Case Study:

For this case study, month-wise data of Particulate Matter’s concentration (PM 2.5 and PM 10) at 5 different locations of Chandigarh have been considered for the year of 2019 and 2020. The months-wise average PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentrations data of these 5 locations of Chandigarh has been assumed as the month-wise PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentrations in Chandigarh. Further, the data for the year 2019 has been compared to the data of year 2020 to analyze rise/ fall in the PM levels in particular month of corresponding year.

  1. Data Analysis:

Following points may be concluded after analysis of data mentioned in above charts:

  • Highest PM 10 level of 152.79 recorded in Chandigarh for January, 2020 and Lowest PM 10 level of 33.90 recorded in August, 2020.
  • Highest PM 2.5 level of 73.94 recorded for January, 2020 and Lowest PM 2.5 level of 15.31 recorded August, 2020.
  • PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels are higher in the month of January and lower in the month of August in year 2020.
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) concentration in Chandigarh varies in the range of 8.20 to 42.04 for January 2020 to December 2020. Air Quality Guide for Nitrogen Dioxide indicates this value as Good (0-50 range) which causes no health impacts when air quality is in this range.
  1. Suggestions/Conclusion:

Based on the above analysis, following measures may be adopted to reduce the levels of particulate matter pollution:

  • Diesel vehicles like Trucks, Buses are a key source of fine particles. These can be reduced by replacing older engines with newer and cleaner engines.
  • Walk, cycle, take public transit and carpool whenever possible. Chandigarh is already having dedicated cycle tracks and project of public bike sharing is already implemented to encourage cycling.
  • Stop burning of Stubbles (the cut stalks of cereal plants left sticking out of the ground after the grain is harvested).
  • Control wildfire; limit the use of fireplaces and burning of wood.