PM10, PM2.5 recorded two-five times higher than permissible limits by CPCB
A survey conducted by IIT-Delhi on indoor air quality of 37 buildings across Delhi has found that the concentration of particulate matter – both PM10 and PM2.5 – are recorded two-five times higher than the permissible limits set by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for ambient air quality and 10-15 times higher than the WHO 24-hour average limits.
The buildings chosen incuded schools, colleges, hospitals, shopping malls, restaurants, offices and cinema halls during the critical winter period for the city between October 15, 2019 and January 30, 2020. Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA), IIT-Delhi; Society for Indoor Environment (SIE), and Kaiterra, an air quality instrument company, conducted the survey.
IIT-D said that 24-hour monitoring was conducted in most of the selected buildings for indoor air pollutants and physical characteristics, such as number of doors and windows, air purifiers, air conditioning systems, carpets, furniture, photocopiers and printers inside the building, running of diesel generator sets, distance of the buildings from the road side with heavy traffic were also recorded during the study.
“The educational institutes top the list for high PM concentration and despite ban on tobacco smoking in public spaces, it was observed that people were rampantly smoking in offices, hospitals and colleges,” the survey said. It added that CO2 levels were recorded high in hospitals, colleges, offices as well as in restaurants due to higher occupancy and inadequate ventilation.
“Awareness about the quality of air that we breathe indoors is very important as people spend more than 90% of their daily time in indoor environments. The deteriorated Indoor Air Quality with high levels of air pollutants can have much more severe impacts on the health of the people as almost 80-90% of our total times are spent in such buildings,” IIT-Delhi said.
The institute said that some of the finidings from the survey that will need further research while studying IAQ include concentrations of outdoor air pollutants penetrating to the indoor environments, indoor agents, like paints, glues, polishing materials perfumes, spray propellants and cleaning agents, building characteristics such as the air tightness and ventilation, equipment used within the buildings and the customs, habits and traditions of the residents.
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