Despite driest September in 5 years, Delhi’s air is passable

  • Mallica Joshi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 29, 2015 01:20 IST
A short spell of rain in the middle of the month helped improve air quality in Delhi, the national air quality index showed. (HT File Photo)

The city managed to hold its air quality at acceptable levels despite going through the driest September in five years. With the exception of Anand Vihar, all other monitoring stations recorded satisfactory to moderate air quality levels last week.

Delhi — world’s most-polluted city according to the World Health Organisation — started the month at the bottom of the air quality index with most areas recording high levels of pollution. But, a short spell of rain in the middle of the month helped improve air quality, the national air quality index showed.

The city, however, still fell short of the expected rainfall. Till Monday, it received only 21.8mm of rainfall as opposed to 128.4mm it normally receives between September 1 and 28. Air quality usually starts to deteriorate during long dry spells close to the winter.

Of the 10 monitoring stations in the city, Mandir Marg recorded air quality level of 40 on September 23, falling under the good category (0-50). Punjabi Bagh and IGI Airport recorded satisfactory (51-100) air quality levels while the IGI airport fell in the moderate category (101-200).

Anand Vihar, which is close to the national highway and suffers from perpetual traffic congestion, recorded the worst air quality with the presence of particulate matter 10, which can severely damage lung tissues and result in breathing problems.

“This proves the government needs to look at micro handling of air quality in certain areas of the city. The data shows the air quality is not the same in the entire city and can, in fact, vary greatly. Serious attention needs to be paid to this,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, who is part of the Centre for Science and Environment’s right to clean air campaign.

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