Rising Ozone levels pose health threat in Delhi NCR region: All you need to know

Delhi NCR facing some severe health hazards because of ozone which is being produced from a complex interaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. These gases are emitted from vehicles, factories, power plants and other combustion sources which undergo cyclic reactions.

As per the recent data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), it was revealed that the air quality of Delhi is a concerning trend which contains ground-level ozone levels which are surpassing the acceptable limits at multiple monitoring stations. The increase in ozone concentration is the result of interaction between volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) that are causing significant health risks to the residents of the region.

Health implications of ground-level Ozone

Ozone is one of the highly reactive gases which is generated through sunlight’s induced reactions of NOX and VOCs. It has serious health consequences and as per the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) research, individuals with asthma, respiratory ailments, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and vulnerable demographics like children and older adults have been facing heightened risks. 

Ground-level ozone could inflame airways, inflict respiratory conditions and increase the frequency of asthma attacks in humans, leading to an increase in hospitalization rates.

Monitoring stations report: High Ozone levels

Several prominent Delhi locations have been recording the rise of ozone levels as per the national ambient air quality standards. Peak concentrations were observed during the daytime, between 11 am to 6 pm. Areas majorly impacted include:

  • Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range
  • Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium
  • Narela
  • Nehru Nagar
  • RK Puram

Expert insights and recommendations

Sunil Dahiya, South Asia analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, has attributed the surge in ozone levels to the highlighting factors:

  • Fossil fuel combustion
  • Biomass burning
  • High temperatures

He further emphasized addressing sources of both – PM2.5 and ozone emissions to mitigate the air quality issues in the region.

Anumita Roychowdhury, the executive director for research and advocacy at CSE highlighted the urgent need for policy interventions to check on the ozone-forming emissions. She also highlighted the exacerbation of ozone-related concerns during the summer and emphasized the need of proactive measures which will mitigate health risks to humans, which are associated with ozone exposure.

People residing in Delhi could take preventive measures to counter these health threats. Here are some tips: 

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