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Delhi’s air quality remains ‘severe’, winds slightly decrease pollution levels

There was a decrease in air quality level on Tuesday due to dust storms in western India, particularly Rajasthan, which increased coarser particles in the air, the Central Pollution Control Board said.

delhi Updated: Jun 16, 2018 07:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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Buildings are seen blanketed by haze and dust on the outskirts of New Delhi.(Reuters)

Pollution level in the National Capital Region (NCR) continued to linger in the emergency zone for the third consecutive day, even though scientists said that the worst was over. Since 2015, when the air quality index (AQI) was launched, never have pollution levels shot up to such heights and lingered in the severe zone for so long during the summer or the pre-monsoon months of April, May and June.

On Thursday, Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor banned construction activities until Sunday. Pollution also prompted the municipal corporations of north and east Delhi to discontinue the extra classes running under ‘Mission Buniyaad’ in their primary schools from Saturday. Classes would, however, resume on July 2.

“The 24-hour average AQI of Delhi was recorded at 447 on Friday. This is the third consecutive day that Delhi has witnessed severe levels of pollution,” said a senior officer of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Data provided by the CPCB stated that the level of PM10, which had shot up eight times above the safe limits on Wednesday, dropped to 638ug/m3 at 6 pm, which was still around six times above the permissible limits of 100ug/m3. The level of PM2.5 also came out of the ‘severe’ zone on Friday. PM2.5 level was 162ug/m3 at 6 pm on Friday, way below the severe zone of 250ug/m3.

“The visibility Delhi’s IGI Airport improved from around 1500m on Wednesday to around 2500m on Friday, as the strong westerly winds that were bringing dust from the desert regions were weakening. On Wednesday the westerly winds blew for nearly 12 hours over Delhi. On Friday, it blew only for around four hours. The dust is now mainly being channelized towards Punjab as a result of which visibility at Amritsar airport has dropped to around 600-700m,” said RK Jenamani, head, aviation meteorology services of Delhi region and IGI Airport.

As the air quality showed improvement, The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) or Delhi’s L-G didn’t issue any fresh directives. On Wednesday, L-G had directed government agencies and civic bodies to sprinkle water on central verges and roadsides.

South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) deployed a total of 123 tractors and 407 vehicles for this purpose. The north and east corporations also engaged 206 tankers to sprinkle water. Eight mechanical machines were engaged by the north corporation for the sweeping of major roads. More than 200 challans were issued for carrying out construction activities.

“Conditions are likely to improve further on Saturday, as the winds are weakening. We are expecting some cloudy days ahead even though chances of rain are remote,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, senior scientist, regional weather forecasting centre.

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 20:56 IST