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Himachal

Posted at: Jun 12, 2019, 6:32 AM; last updated: Jun 12, 2019, 9:58 AM (IST)

Shimla air gets worse

Shimla air gets worse
Smoke rises from a forest near Shimla on Tuesday. Amit Kanwar

Kuldeep Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 11

The air quality in the capital has further deteriorated with the respirable suspended particle matter (RSPM) level zooming to 81 micro gram per cubic metre on June 10, an all-time high since 2014, revealed the data from the state pollution regulator.

Forest fires in Shimla, Solan and Sirmaur region have added to the pollution level, creating suffocating conditions in the city. The traffic has increased with over 10,000 vehicles entering the city this weekend as compared to 5,000 vehicles in the first week of June, said officials. The release of noxious gases from forest fires and vehicles increased, revealed the regulator.

The RSPM level has shot up from 52 micro gram per cubic m on June 1 at the old bus stand to 81 on June 10.

With 116 micro gram per cubic m recorded on June 6 this year, the RSPM level in Sundarnagar crossed the standard limit, posing health hazards to its residents, caution environmental engineers. Similarly, the RSPM level in industrial towns Kala Amb (152 on June 3) and Paonta Sahib (106 on June 1) had been much more than the standard limit of 100 microgram per cubic m, said the engineers.

“The reason for the pollution is forest fires, heavy inflow of tourist traffic and dust raised by storms,” said Dr SK Shandil, a senior environmental engineer with the state pollution regulator.

The state regulator had failed to record the particulate matter 2.5 level in the city as the recording meter, installed at the old bus stand, had been out of order for months, revealed the sources.

The member secretary, pollution control board, Dr RK Pruthi, said the RSPM level varied from time to time depending upon weather condition and movement of traffic and incidents of fires.

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