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Delhi still facing severe pollution, air likely to get cleaner by Sunday

The situation has been equally bad in other NCR cities such as Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Noida

delhi Updated: Oct 21, 2017 14:30 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi air pollution,Smog,NCR cities
Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index was 403, considered as ‘severe’ category of pollution, on Saturday morning. (HT PHOTO)

The air quality in Delhi, which nosedived to ‘severe’ levels a day after Diwali on Friday, showed no sign of improvement even on Saturday morning.

While the city’s overall Air Quality Index was 403 - considered as ‘severe’ category of pollution – around 8.30am, the levels of particulate matter in several areas such as Lodhi Road, RK Puram and Mathura Road were at least five times higher than the permissible limits.

The situation was equally bad in other NCR cities such as Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Noida. They all have AQI above 400, which means air pollution in all these cities were in the severe zone. Gurgaon, however, was slightly better with AQI at 360 (very poor category).

By Sunday, however, Delhi’s air is likely to get much cleaner.

Met officials have said that with wind directions changing and its speed likely to pick up and the moisture content in the air expected to drop, the post-Diwali pollution may start dissipating from Saturday afternoon.

“Even though there could be some improvement on Saturday as the moisture content is expected to drop, we would need some strong dry winds for the pollutants to clean up. For this we would have to wait till Sunday,” VK Soni head of the environment monitoring research centre of the Indian Meteorological Department had told HT on Friday.

Experts said that even though Delhi witnessed a decline in the amount of firecrackers burned on the Diwali night, unfavourable weather patterns had aggravated the situation.

“There was a definite decline in burning of fire crackers because of the ban on sale of firecrackers by the Supreme Court. High moisture content and calm winds, however, aggravated the situation. The pollutants didn’t get dispersed,” said A Sudhakar, member secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Data available with the CPCB stated that the AQI had hit the severe level on Friday. It was after a gap of 10 months that Delhi had to witness such high levels of pollution. The last time Delhi saw severe category of air pollution was in December 2016.

Even though experts claimed that there has been a definite decline in bursting of fire crackers this time, a statement issued by SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) maintained by ministry of earth sciences, said that such high pollution levels indicated that the amount of crackers burnt were same as last year.

An analysis done by the Centre for Science and Environment said that the situation could have been worse had the ban not been enforced.

First Published: Oct 21, 2017 10:56 IST