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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Post-Dussehra, Delhi breathes cleanest air in five years

cities Updated: Oct 09, 2019 23:46 IST


New Delhi

This year the national capital breathed much cleaner air post-Dussehra, with the air quality remaining in the ‘moderate’ category on Wednesday.

Most of the city’s 38 monitoring stations recorded a marginal rise in pollutants, with the major pollutants remaining well within permissible limits. Only Dwarka Sector-8 slipped into ‘very poor’ category.

According to officials and experts, the air has remained relatively clean this year largely because of meteorological conditions, such as extended rainfall in the neighbouring regions and steps taken on ground such as crackdown on use of firecrackers.

There was only a slight spike in PM 2.5 and PM 10 — most prominent pollutants in Delhi air — resulting from burning of effigies in various parts of the city.

“There was no notable spike in pollutants post effigy burning, as favourable meteorological conditions did not allow pollutants to accumulate. Because of an extended monsoon, Delhi still has easterly winds coming in, which do not allow trapping of pollutants,” said a senior official from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

Lesser use of crackers, with many organisers opting for digital visualization for effigy burning, was also a major factor, the official said.

According to DPCC data on the day of Dussehra, the PM 2.5 value at Anand Vihar — one of the major pollution hotspots in the city — increased from 29 micrograms per cubic metre at 5pm to 105 micrograms per cubic metres at 11pm.

The permissible standards for PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre, respectively.

“A slight rise in pollutants could be seen only for a few hours on the same day, post-effigy burning. The air quality at most monitoring stations remained in the moderate category. This has been possible because of a combination of factors including good weather conditions as well as allowing only use of green crackers and other dust-control measures being taken by the city government,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

On Wednesday, Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) was 173 in the ‘moderate’ category as compared to 138 (also in the moderate category) a day before. Only Dwarka Sector 8 metro station recorded AQI at 308 in ‘very poor’ category from ‘moderate’ a day before.

“This year was the cleanest perhaps in the last ten years. There is no major dip so far because of the effect of rainfall in adjoining regions as well, which is clearing away the pollutants. There is no intrusion of dust from outside as well as from local factors, as rainfall and good wind has been washing it down. Efforts on the ground have to be maintained throughout winter season in order to prevent air quality from worsening,” said D Saha, former head of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) air laboratory.

First Published: Oct 09, 2019 23:46 IST

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