Delhi: Pollution this year on verge of breaking 17-year smog record of 2016
One more day of “severe” levels of air pollution, and Delhi could break the record of the infamous 2016 smog, considered the worst in 17 years. Over the past seven days, the city has been reeling under “severe” levels of pollution, similar to conditions in November 2016.
But Met officials have predicted some relief ahead. They have forecast that, by Tuesday afternoon, the air quality is expected to return to “very poor” levels, considered normal during this time of the year.
The levels of particulate matter in Delhi-NCR, which shot up nearly eight times above the safe standards on Sunday, dropped to six times above the permissible limit by Monday 8pm.
This improvement was, however, not reflected in the day’s average AQI, which stood at 460, the same as Sunday. The AQI is a 24-hour average, experts said. The actual improvement would be better reflected in the falling level of particulate matter.
“We expect the pollution to hit ‘very poor’ category by Tuesday once again. This improvement was expected by Sunday, but the sudden changes in local weather delayed the process,” said Gurgan Beig project director of SAFAR, maintained by the Union ministry of earth sciences.
An official from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said that the only good news this year has been that peak pollution levels has not been as harsh as 2016. While last year, the AQI touched 497 on November 6, this year the peak of 486 was hit on November 9.
Pollution levels first entered the “severe” zone on November 7. Officials said that pollution levels have been improving since November 9. The relief, however, was short-lived as the air turned foul again from Saturday afternoon. This time the AQI touched 460. But since Sunday, it has again started improving, officials said.
The changing wind pattern has helped in the process, officials said. While high altitude winds that usually bring in pollutants from outside have slowed, surface level winds that help to flush out local pollutants are gathering speed.
“The speed of surface level winds, which had dropped from 7kmph on Friday to around 2kmph on Saturday evening, has again increased to 6kmph on Monday,” said a Met official.
The level of PM10 dropped to 539ug/m3 around 8pm on Monday, from 712ug/m3 on Sunday afternoon. A PM10 value above 500 is considered an emergency.
PM2.5 levels which had hit 480ug/m3 on Sunday has also dropped to 362 on Monday. A PM2.5 value above 300 denotes emergency levels. It is expected to come down to 245ug/m3 by Tuesday.
Himachal Pradesh has imported 240 Merino sheep for the genetic improvement of indigenous species under its ₹8.5-crore community-based structured breeding programme, animal husbandry minister Virender Kanwar said on Sunday. A total of 1,482 metric tonnes of wool was produced in the state last year. The state has 7, 91,345 sheep which produce coarse carpet-quality wool. Himachal is the sixth largest producer of wool in the country, contributing 4% of the total production.
A six-year-old boy died after falling into a 100-foot-deep borewell at Khyala Bulanda village here on Sunday. Son of a migrant labourer, Rithik Roshan, fell into the borewell around 9 am and was taken out at 6.30pm. Rithik's death is a is a stark reminder of a similar shocking incident two years ago in Sangrur district where two-year-old Fatehvir Singh had died after he fell into a 150-foot-deep abandoned borewell.
No immediate measures have been initiated by the authorities to check the stinking brackish blushing water flowing from the Harike barrage near here into Rajasthan and Ferozepur feeder canals even after over a decade of the polluted water making its way to agricultural fields and homes, resulting in crop losses and health problems among residents of Punjab and adjoining Rajasthan that receive the water supplied by it.
A truck driver was allegedly beaten to death by three youths on Sunday after the victim, Inder Harpal Singh of Patiala's vehicle grazed their car in Faridkot city. SHO Sandeep Singh said that the investigation has found that the victim, Inder Harpal Singh of Patiala, was beaten to death by the accused after a small accident at 9:30 pm on Sunday when he was on his way to Faridkot city from Sangrur to deliver packages.
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Sunday asked Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann not to befool the farmers with announcements that their moong crop would be procured when the Centre has only agreed to buy 4,585 tonnes of the pulse, amounting to only 10-15% of the anticipated production. In a statement here, SAD kisan wing president Sikander Singh Maluka said Punjab was set to produce 4.75 lakh tonnes of moong.