Poison in air: Delhi to be more polluted than Beijing this Diwali

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 23, 2014 01:18 IST

This Diwali too you are not going to breathe easy, if predictions about Air Quality Index (AQI) are anything to go by.

Delhi’s air is going to be highly polluted after Thursday as revellers continue to burst firecrackers to celebrate Diwali. The Air Quality Index shows the level of pollutants reaching alarming levels by evening, making it quite clear this Diwali will be no cleaner.

AQI (Air Quality Index) also known as the Air Pollution Index (API) or Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) is a number normally ranges from 1 to 500 which characterise the quality of the air at a given location.

According to System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) — an initiative of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune — pollution levels in the Capital will be worse than Beijing over the next couple of days with the air pollution index rising to 450 from the existing 220.

The AQI forecast shows Particulate Matter around North Campus will be the highest at 309 on Thursday evening.

It will also be more difficult to breathe easy this Diwali because of Capital’s already worsening pollution levels. In May this year, World Health Organisation had declared Delhi as one of the most polluted cities in the world.

Current weather conditions will only add to the problem on Thursday. The pollution level was already worsening over last two days. Data recorded by Delhi Pollution Control Committee, for instance, shows Nitrogen dioxide level at RK Puram at 7.40pm on Wednesday increasing to 239.9 microgram per cubic metre whereas the prescribed standard is as low as 80 microgram per cubic metre.

Particulate Matter had, in fact, was more than three times the prescribed limit at 356 microgram per cubic metre. It was around 256 on the previous day.

Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, Centre for Science and Environment said, the air is going to be severely polluted this Diwali because of absolutely no wind speed. “There is practically no wind blowing in the Capital for the past two days. On Wednesday, the wind speed was 0.3 metres per second. Due to this, the pollution created by firecrackers will not be blown away,” she said.

Wednesday was sweaty and warm. The meteorological department has predicted a clear sky on Thursday with mist early in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be around 34 and 18 degrees respectively.

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