Delhi breathes cleanest air in five months, records sharp drop in pollution
Delhi logged an Air Quality Index (AQI) reading of 119 (moderate), according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s national bulletin at 4 pm, on Thursday.
Strong winds and scattered rain led to a sharp decline in the Capital’s pollution levels on Thursday, with Delhi logging an Air Quality Index (AQI) reading of 119 (moderate), according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s national bulletin at 4 pm — the best air day in the city in nearly five months.
In comparison, Delhi’s air quality was 213 (poor) on Wednesday, and 173 (moderate) on Tuesday, CPCB data showed.
This winter season, Delhi’s air has been in the moderate zone multiple times, including on seven out of nine days in March so far. However, the last time that the city logged a better air day was on October 11, 2022, when it was 66 (satisfactory).
The sharp drop in pollution levels prompted the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to lift all curbs under the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) from across NCR with immediate effect.
Stage 1 under Grap, which have been in force since October 5, 2022, include 24 directions that need to be enforced on the ground, including mechanised sweeping and sprinkling of water on roads across NCR, a halt of all construction and demolition projects with an area of over 500 sqm which are not registered on the state government’s web portal, and visibly polluting vehicles being impounded or levied a heavy fine.
CAQM said in a statement, “The overall AQI of Delhi has significantly improved from the level of 213 (poor) on March 8, 2023 to 119 (moderate) on Thursday, March 9, 2023. Delhi’s AQI has also generally remained in the moderate category so far in March except on Wednesday.”
It said forecasts by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and India Meteorological Department (IMD) currently do not indicate a deterioration in AQI over the next few days. “Therefore, it was considered by the Sub-Committee to revoke the orders under Stage 1 of Grap with immediate effect across the entire NCR,” the statement said.
A CAQM official said short-term forecasts do not show any significant deterioration in Delhi’s air quality. However, measures under Grap can be enforced any time that the pollution levels increase. “We will keep monitoring the situation, and reviews on air quality will be held as and when the AQI deteriorates,” the official said.