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Changing direction of winds worsens pollution in Delhi

delhi Updated: Oct 20, 2015 11:43 IST
Mallica Joshi

A dim haze caused by air pollution at Connaught Place in New Delhi on Monday.(Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Photo)

Winter is yet to set in but the city is already gasping for breath.

Of six monitoring stations in the capital, three recorded the season’s worst air quality on Monday. The approaching festival of Diwali and illegal crop burning in neighbouring states may spell further doom for Delhi’s air — world’s most polluted according to the World Health Organisation.

Punjabi Bagh, RK Puram and Mandir Marg recorded ‘very poor’ air quality at levels of 337, 326 and 312, respectively. Anand Vihar fell in the ‘severe’ category with a reading of 462 but the area has seen worse days with levels closer to the critical 500 mark.

Delhiites found it easier to breathe in September despite the month witnessing its driest spell in five years. A short spell of rain in the middle of the month had helped improve air quality by bringing down pollution levels.

But long, dry spells in the upcoming winter may make it difficult for the city to get rid of particulate matter that can severely damage lung tissues and result in breathing problems. In fact, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has indicated that the situation may be worse than last year as authorities are yet to take any significant steps to improve air quality.

A change in wind patterns from easterly to westerly effected by a change in seasons and illegal crop burning in Punjab and Haryana may compound the problem.