IIT Kanpur researchers find biomass burning emissions causes nightly high pollution in Delhi

A joint research study led by IITK finds that limiting uncontrollable combustions can become effective strategy for Delhi pollution control.

IIT Kanpur researchers find biomass burning emissions causes nightly high pollution in Delhi IIT Kanpur. (Picture: Official website)
Ishita Ranganath | Mar 13, 2023 - 4:30 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: A joint research study leady by Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) along with IIT Delhi, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) Switzerland and University Helsinki, Finland found that high amount of particulate pollution in Delhi during nightly hours is caused by biomass burning emissions.

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The research paper was co-authored by IIT Kanpur, department of civil engineering, Suneeti Mishra and Sachchida Nand Tripathi and was published in Nature Geoscience, Volume 16. The study details that the reduction of uncontrolled combustion, during favourable weather conditions, can limit the amount of supersaturated vapours available for nanoparticle growth and therefore can become an effective strategy for mitigation of night pollution in Delhi.

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This study was designed for Delhi during the winter months of 2019 where aerosol size distribution and molecular composition of ambient aerosols and gases were measured. The researchers found that the composition very high growth rates of aerosols have been found in unfavourable new particle formation conditions compared to other places in the world, leading to haze formation in an span of few hours during extreme pollution events.

While speaking about the research, IIT Kanpur, principal investigatorm Sachchida Nand Tripathi, said: “The uncontrolled biomass burning for residential heating and cooking in the Indo–Gangetic plain gives rise to ultrafine particles, affecting the health of 5% of the world’s population and impacting the regional climate. Regulating the uncontrolled biomass-combustion emissions may help inhibit nocturnal haze formation and improve health. The study becomes important as air pollution is responsible for 18% of the total annual premature deaths in India.”

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