Delhi’s pollution dips to its lowest in a month after Friday’s showers

Weather experts foresee more light rain on Saturday, which may make the weekend less polluted before the air worsens again

delhi Updated: Nov 18, 2017 23:32 IST
Ritam Halder
Ritam Halder
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi air pollution,Pollution in Delhi,Delhi air quality
Delhi woke up to the brightest morning in a while on Saturday. (Sanchit Khanna/HT)

The air was at its cleanest in a month and people in Delhi-NCR woke up to the brightest morning in a while on Saturday after spells of drizzle in some neighbourhoods helped settle the dangerous levels of pollution.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi’s 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) — a number based on the readings of particulate matter and toxic gases — stood at 298, classified as ‘poor’ on Saturday.

‘Poor’ was an improvement over the ‘very poor’ classification for the index when it is between 301-400. The last time the AQI was below 300 was on October 16.

Between then and Thursday, pollution hit unprecedented levels and entered the ‘severe’ levels in the high 400s. A thick toxic haze enveloped the region, and much of north India, triggering a week-long school shutdown, ban on construction and heavy trucks. Senior doctors in Delhi urged people to stay indoors and minimise activity outdoors, as politicians traded blame over who was responsible.

On Saturday, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad clocked 288, 310 and 305 AQI. In NCR, Ghaziabad was the dirtiest with an AQI of 364. Pollution levels started to dip from Friday evening after traces of rain hit some parts of the region.

The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, India’s official pollution forecasting system under the ministry of earth sciences, on Saturday said pollution levels will remain the same for the next two days, after which it might go up a bit.

On Sunday, expect a pleasant day with mainly clear sky. In the morning, mist or shallow fog is expected, a MeT department official said.

“Isolated parts of Delhi received traces of rain on Friday and Saturday morning. There was no more rain till 5.30pm but the adjoining areas got rain,” said an official of the meteorological department.

“On Friday, PM10 levels had dropped to moderate category and PM2.5 levels were still in the very poor category. On Saturday, things got better. Had it rained a bit more then the air quality would have cleaned more. Already a lot of accumulated pollution have been washed away because of the little rain,” said Dipankar Saha, head of the air quality monitoring laboratory at CPCB.

According to him, the air quality might improve further in the next couple of days.

“Apart from the rain in Delhi and surrounding areas, northern winds are also helping the city’s air quality. A depression in Bay of Bengal has also cleared. Thereby wind activity from both North and South are helping the city,” Saha said.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 10:17 IST