Delhi AQI remains in very poor category; likely to improve from Saturday
A day after the Air Quality Index (AQI) dropped to the severe category, pollution levels in the national Capital remained in very poor category on Friday morning. According to the data shared by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the AQI value was 380 at 7 am.
On Thursday, the air quality was “severe” for a major part of the day. However, the average AQI for the day settled at 395 – dangerously close to the severe category.
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Air quality enters the very poor zone between 301-400 mark and crosses over to the severe zone after exceeding 400 causing distress and respiratory illnesses, especially in children and those exposed to the bad air.
Till 1pm on Thursday, the average AQI oscillated between 402 and 408. At monitoring stations in Mundka, Bawana, Narela, Wazirpur and Anand Vihar, pollution levels neared the 500 mark, the worst AQI recordings since January.
Scientists attributed the bad air to calm surface wind conditions that have led to the accumulation of pollutants in the atmosphere and stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana that is affecting the National Capital Region (NCR). Satellite images from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) showed a thick cover of smoke over the Delhi-NCR region on Thursday.
VK Soni, head of the environment monitoring research centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said the wind speed was below 4kmph on Thursday. He added that the situation was expected to improve from Friday. “By Saturday, there will be a significant improvement in the air quality,” Soni said.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar) of the Union ministry of earth sciences said stubble fires spotted over Punjab and Haryana were the highest (2,912) this season on Wednesday and their share (36%) in the city’s PM 2.5 (ultrafine particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 micrometres) levels too hit a new high on that day.
A day after Delhi reported the coldest October in 26 years recording a minimum temperature of 12.5 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal, IMD has predicted a misty day on Friday with minimum temperature likely to drop to 12 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature is predicted to remain at 32 degrees Celsius – marginally lesser than Thursday’s 32.2 degrees.