Air pollution: Delhi enjoys cleanest February in three years
As air quality improves and with winter gone, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) is likely to lift the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) from March 1, two weeks before it was scheduled to come to an end.
Delhi is enjoying its cleanest February in three years as far as the air quality index is concerned. The number of days with ‘very poor’ and ‘poor’ air quality has gone down while days with ‘moderate’ air quality have risen.
Data released by the Central Pollution Control Board shows that the number of days in February with ‘very poor’ air quality dropped from 15 in 2016 to four in 2017. In 2018 it dropped to three.
Similarly, ‘poor’ quality days have dropped from 22 in 2017 to 18 this year. Days with ‘moderate’ air quality has gone up from 0 in 2016 to two in 2017. In 2018, there were six days of moderate air quality in February.
“There were two ‘moderate’ days in February 2017. The AQI was 162 on February 7, 2017. This year the AQI dropped to 140 on Monday – the lowest AQI recorded in February in last three years,” said a senior CPCB official.
Scientists said the clean air is a combined effect of measures taken to curb pollution and favourable meteorological conditions.
“A slew of measures had been rolled out to keep pollution levels under control. Other measures such as the ban on pet coke and furnace oil have also yielded results. Meteorological conditions are also favourable. Strong winds are blowing and temperature is rising, which is aiding better air circulation. This is helping in dispersal of pollutants,” D Saha, former head of the CPCB’s air quality laboratory, said.
Officials from the regional weather forecasting centre said the wind speed had been high over the past 10-12 days. On Monday, it was around 35 km per hour. In winter, wind speed drops to less 5 km per hour.
“Measures under the GRAP to combat ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ pollution levels were rolled out for the first time from October 17, 2017. It was scheduled to end on March 15, 2018. But with air quality better and showing signs of further improvement, the plan is likely to be withdrawn from March 1,” said an EPCA member.
Even though measures to control levels of ‘severe’ and ‘very poor’ are likely to be lifted, ban on open burning will continue throughout the year.
Hindustan Times had earlier reported that despite the toxic haze that had engulfed Delhi for more than a week in November 2017, the Capital breathed comparatively cleaner air in 2017 than in 2016.
The Delhi fire control room received at least 20 calls until 9 am on Monday related to the uprooting of trees and wall collapses because of the heavy rain and gusty winds. The calls were received from places such as Delhi Cantonment, Civil Lines, Main Rohtak Road, and Dhaula Khan. The rains and the gusty winds up to 70 km per hour also led to traffic jams in many parts of the city.
The traffic police advised people to avoid stretches such as Narsinghpur area, Jharsa Crossing, Sector 29, Sector 38, Sector 50, Rajeev Chowk, Sheetla Mata Road, Civil Lines, Golf Course Extension Road, Vatika Chowk, Sector 52 and Daulatabad Flyover. “We have deployed teams, and are pumping out water through motors to ensure smooth flow of traffic, but congestions are being reported from many areas,” Ravinder Kumar Tomar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) said, warning commuters to plan their journeys accordingly.
New Delhi: The heavy rain and gusty winds uprooted trees and led to water logging in Delhi on Monday and triggered power cuts across the city. The India Meteorological Department said thunderstorms were expected to continue in the city accompanied by gusty winds with a speed of 60-90 kilometre per hour. Officials urged residents, especially children, to stay away from electricity poles, sub-stations, transformers, and streetlights.
Delhi was much in need of a relief amid intense heatwave over the last few weeks and heavy rain and thunderstorms did just that. The mercury dropped by around 11 degrees Celsius in nearly 1.5 hours on Monday morning. “Today, between 5:40 am and 7 am, temperature fell by 11 degree Celsius, from 29 degree Celsius to 18 degree Celsius,” the India Meteorological Department said as per news agency ANI. Power blackouts were also reported.
The India Meteorological Department issued a warning for several parts of Delhi-NCR as heavy rain and thunderstorms lashed the national capital on Monday morning. Extreme wind gusts going up to a ravaging speed of 90 Kmph is also expected. Predicted impact of storm The weather department officials have predicted damage to vulnerable structures and kutcha houses/walls and huts. “Damage to plantations, horticulture and standing crops,” is also expected today. Immediately get out of water bodies.