Delhi’s air slowly inches towards ‘severe’
Air quality in the national capital continued to remain in the ‘very poor’ zone on Thursday, as winds slowed down and a moderate fog layer did not allow pollutants to disperse. The air quality is likely to plunge to ‘severe’ on December 28-29 after the wind speed slows down and as there is an increase in dense fog, government agencies warned.
The overall air quality index (AQI) on Thursday, as recorded by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)’s 4pm bulletin, was 349 in the ‘very poor’ zone, as against 350, the previous day.
Scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the average wind speed was 8-10kmph, which is not favourable for dispersion of pollutants. Any improvement in the air quality could be expected around December 31 when an approaching Western Disturbance brings rain and hailstorm in Delhi and neighbouring regions.
“The winds are expected to remain slow over the next three to four days, as there is no system forming close to Delhi. Besides, moderate to dense fog is expected over the next three days, which also allows trapping of pollutants, which may push up pollution levels,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head, IMD’s regional weather forecasting centre.
He added that the whole northwestern region is expected to witness rainfall and hailstorm on the first day of the New Year. “The Western Disturbance will start impacting Delhi’s weather from December 30. On December 31, there could be light rainfall, which will be followed by more rain and hail on the first day of 2020, which is expected to wash away pollutants and improve air quality significantly,” he said.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), ministry of earth science’s weather and air quality monitoring centre, forecast also said that on Friday, the AQI is likely to reach the higher end of the ‘very poor’ category and will enter the ‘severe’ category over the weekend.
“Calm surface winds, low mixing layer and dense fog with high humidity are conditions highly favourable for the formation of secondary particulate (more potent and harmful than particulate matter), which could push up pollution levels even higher on December 28-29,” said a senior SAFAR scientist.
A mechanical engineer from Delhi who was on a tourist visit at Duke's Nose point (Nagphani) at Lonavla near Pune has been reported missing in the forest since Friday afternoon, police said. The engineer, Irfan Shah (24) had called his brother and told him that he lost track in the forest. The Lonavla rural police and local volunteers of Shiv Durg Group are searching the jungle to trace the youth.
Paying heed and actively working towards safeguarding Mother Earth, by creating awareness are some college students and community groups. Charged up to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity , today, in full fervour, some have even planned to meet up for the cause. To raise awareness of the importance of preserving biodiversity, MH Vatavaran, the environment society of Miranda House College, Delhi University, has been organising various competitions that help create awareness.
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren on Sunday directed police to identify the accused and take appropriate action after a video of a school girl being beaten by a young boy went viral on social media. The girl, seen in uniform, is reportedly a tribal student of a school in Pakur district. The accused boy is seen raining kicks on the girl carrying a school bag while another unidentified person recorded the incident.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday condemned the killing of an elderly man in Madhya Pradesh's Neemuch district. Taking to Twitter, Sibal, the former Union minister said that he was ashamed that this was happening in the country. “Differently-able elderly man beaten to death on suspicion of being a Muslim. I am ashamed that this is happening in my country. Amit Shah Ji please speak up,” Sibal tweeted.
A Central Bureau of Investigation sessions court in Ahmedabad on Saturday evening rejected a CBI application that sought 10 days of police remand for a Surat-based shop-owner, Rafiq Menon, who has been accused of shielding an Indian administrative service (IAS) officer in a bribery case. Menon's counsel argued that IAS officer K Rajesh, who is the main accused in the case, has not been arrested so far.