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Delhi can breathe easy for the next couple of days, says Met dept

The air quality index touched the “severe” level at 448 on November 7. On November 8, it reached 478 and peaked at 486 a day later.

delhi Updated: Nov 19, 2017 07:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
delhi air,air pollution,delhi
People feed seagulls along the Yamuna river on a clear Saturday morning in New Delhi.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The air quality on Saturday improved to become ‘poor’ and is likely to improve further in the next few days.

Weather experts said that the air might become foul from Tuesday again, though it was unlikely that it will touch ‘severe’ level.

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

“The rain, especially in the surrounding areas of Delhi, has ensured that accumulated pollutants have got washed off. Pollution levels will stay similar till Monday at least, after which it might increase. But there is no possibility of witnessing ‘severe’ level of pollution like we did from November 7,” SAFAR chief Gufran Beig said.

The air quality index touched the “severe” level at 448 on November 7. On November 8, it reached 478 and peaked at 486 a day later. On November 14, after a week of foul air, the AQI came down substantially to 308 before jumping up two notches to 310 on Friday.

A dust storm from the Gulf area was the main reason behind this recent weeklong smog in Delhi and adjoining areas when the Capital’s AQI remained ‘severe’.

“On November 8, when the AQI was at an alarming 478, the contribution of the dust storm from Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia was as much as 40%, whereas, that of stubble burning was 25%,” a recent SAFAR report said.

Delhi, a city of about 20 million people, has been struggling to clean up its air that contains a toxic cocktail of dust, smoke and gases from vehicle and factory exhausts. The condition worsens every autumn and winter as the city, buffeted by farmers burning crop stalks in neighbouring states and atmospheric changes, records high levels of air pollution.

On Friday, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed Delhi and neighbouring states to frame an action plan that will kick in automatically when air quality deteriorates beyond ‘severe’, even as the AAP government sparred with a Supreme Court-appointed panel over the city’s deadly pollution levels.

The green court move is expected to end a long process that involves the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority passing orders when air quality turns severe. State governments and other agencies then pass their own orders to enforce pollution control measures under the Centre’s Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

On Sunday, Delhi is expected to witness a pleasant day with mainly clear sky. In the morning, mist or shallow fog is expected. The maximum and minimum temperature are expected stay at 24 and 14 degrees, a MeT official said.

“Till 8.30 on Saturday morning, 1.0mm of rain was recorded. Till 5.30pm, no rain was recorded. The maximum temperature clocked 24.3 degrees Celsius, three notches below what is normal this time of the year, while the minimum stood at 15.2 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal,” he said.

BOX

Air Quality Index

November 6: 354

November 7: 448

November 8: 478

November 9: 486

November 10: 468

November 11: 403

November 12: 460

November 13: 460

November 14: 308

November 15: 361

November 16: 363

November 17: 310

November 18: 298

(Source: CPCB)

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 23:38 IST