Quantifying the effect of air quality control measures during the 2010 Commonwealth Games at Delhi, India

Gufran Beig, Dilip M. Chate, Sachin D. Ghude, A. S. Mahajan, R. Srinivas, K. Ali, S. K. Sahu, N. Parkhi, D. Surendran, H. R. Trimbake

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In 2010, the XIX Commonwealth Games (CWG-2010) were held in India for the first time at Delhi and involved 71 commonwealth nations and dependencies with more than 6000 athletes participating in 272 events. This was the largest international multi-sport event to be staged in India and strict emission controls were imposed during the games in order to ensure improved air quality for the participating athletes as a significant portion of the population in Delhi is regularly exposed to elevated levels of pollution. The air quality control measures ranged from vehicular and traffic controls to relocation of factories and reduction of power plant emissions. In order to understand the effects of these policy induced control measures, a network of air quality and weather monitoring stations was set-up across different areas in Delhi under the Government of India's System of Air quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) project. Simultaneous measurements of aerosols, reactive trace gases (e.g. NOx, O3, CO) and meteorological parameters were made before, during and after CWG-2010. Contrary to expectations, the emission controls implemented were not sufficient to reduce the pollutants, instead in some cases, causing an increase. The measured pollutants regularly exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality limits over the games period. The reasons for this increase are attributed to an underestimation of the required control measures, which resulted in inadequate planning. The results indicate that any future air quality control measures need to be well planned and strictly imposed in order to improve the air quality in Delhi, which affects a large population and is deteriorating rapidly. Thus, the presence of systematic high resolution data and realistic emission inventories through networks such as SAFAR will be directly useful for the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-463
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Air quality
  • Commonwealth Games 2010
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Ozone
  • Particulate matter

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