Delhi’s air quality slips to ‘poor’ category, could worsen
The quality of air in Delhi slipped further in the ‘poor’ category on Friday as authorities recorded the Air Quality Index (AQI) 228 at 1am.
The concentration of particulate matter - PM 2.5 and PM 10 - levels in the Capital air saw a spike over the past 24 hours.
According to officials, the dip was mainly because of the withdrawal of monsoon from the National Capital Region and change in wind pattern combined with effects of crop stubble burning in neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab.
The national capital’s air quality fell into ‘poor’ category on Thursday for the first time after nearly a three-month-long spell of good air with AQI recorded as 211 at 4pm.
The air quality further deteriorated to 223 by 10pm, as pollutants accumulated over the night, a level not seen since July 14 when it was 235.
System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the air quality forecasting system under the Union ministry of earth sciences, had predicted on Thursday that the pollution levels could rise over the next 48 hours.
The air quality before Dussehra on Tuesday, October 8, was in ‘satisfactory and ‘moderate’ category. It took a hit after effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarana and Meghnad were burnt along with the firecrackers during the festival.
However, environment monitoring officials had said residents of Delhi breathed the cleanest air in five years for a day that falls immediately after Dussehra.
Data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) showed that on Wednesday, the city’s overall air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 173 compared to 326 last year.
AQI in the range of 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’.
Delhi’s air pollution is a toxic mix of vehicular exhaust gases, smoke from burning crops in the nearby states of Punjab and Haryana, road dust, and billowing sand from thousands of construction sites.
The pollution is intensified by winter weather patterns and hemmed in by the towering Himalayas to the north.