Kashmir Indepth

‘In Himalayan areas, Srinagar has highest PM in air’

Arjumand Shah

Srinagar Oct 21 (KINS): The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir-Srinagar- has the highest concentration of particulate matter in air compared to other Himalayan areas, says a study.

A research studied the particulate matter (PM) data for five years at Srinagar, Kashmir, to examine the temporal variability, meteorological impacts and potential source regions of particulate matter, a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. It includes inhalable PM10, with diameters that are generally 10 microns and smaller and finer PM2.5.

The study says that Srinagar has the highest concentration of PM compared to other Himalayan states. “Further, according to the study, the annual PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations were two to three times higher than India’s annual National Ambient Air Quality Standards (PM10 = 60 μg/m3 and PM2.5 = 40 μg/m3) in autumn and winter,” it said.

Experts said that Kashmir has a valley-like setup surrounded by mountains on all sides.

“As a result, haze develops in autumn and winters, in the lower troposphere over the Kashmir valley that restricts the vertical dispersion of pollutants. Besides, mostly biomass burning of the predominantly pruned branches from orchards takes place at this time. The haze can settle on the glaciers and can exacerbate glacier melt,” Adil Ahmad, a researcher at Kashmir University told news agency KINS.

The long-term consequences of shrinking glaciers, he said, will affect the downstream community in the Indus basin, which encompasses the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and several states in India. (KINS)

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