City air on the verge of ‘very poor’ zone, rain to improve AQI on Thursday
Air quality in the city remained in the ‘poor’ zone on Wednesday, with a reading of 299 on the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) daily air quality index (AQI) bulletin, marginally worse than the AQI of 296 recorded the previous day. Experts attributed the lack of improvement in air quality to local factors and slow wind speeds, due to which pollutants couldn’t be dispersed.
Gurugram remained the least polluted city in the National Capital Region (NCR) for the second consecutive day, as the AQI in neighbouring Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad worsened to the ‘severe’ category, while Faridabad was in the ‘very poor’ category.
Kuldeep Srivastava, head of India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) regional weather forecasting centre, said that since Gurugram was located to the south, local factors, such as geography and relatively better dispersion of pollutants, might have played a role in keeping the air quality marginally better than other NCR cities. “Wind direction and location play a role due to which there might be a variation in the air quality of different cities. When we look at Palam or Gurugram, towards the south, the dispersion is slightly higher, whereas places such as Delhi are densely populated and vehicular emissions are also higher, due to which dispersion doesn’t take place properly. Comparatively, winds also slightly faster on the outskirts,” said Srivastava.
The level of ultrafine particulate matter having a diameter of 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5), the city’s primary pollutant, was at 243.38 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m³) on Wednesday, as per the CPCB’s air quality monitor at Vikas Sadan in Sector 11. The PM2.5 level was almost four times the permissible limit of 60µg/m³.
According to the early air quality warning system for Delhi-NCR, the air quality is likely to improve significantly and reach the lower end of ‘poor’ category on Thursday, with a chance of light rain. The air quality is likely to improve further but remain in the ‘poor’ category on Friday.
“Since stubble burning has decreased these days, the air pollution is mostly due to local factors and emissions from industries. The pollutants are not getting dispersed on account of slow wind speed,” said Srivastava.
The minimum temperature of Gurugram increased by two degrees on Wednesday, to settle at 11 degrees Celsius, as per IMD data, up from a minimum temperature of 9.6 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. The city recorded a maximum temperature of 22.6 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, which decreased by one degree from the day before, according to the IMD’s Palam observatory in Delhi, which, according to the MeT department officials, gives a fairly accurate reading of the city’s weather.
The IMD’s automatic weather station (AWS) did not record the city’s maximum temperature on Wednesday.
Srivastava said that the minimum temperature would remain in a similar range on Thursday while very light rain may occur in a scattered manner in some parts. “The city might see very light rain or drizzling on account of the western disturbance on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. The temperature won’t be affected much and will stay around 10-11 degrees Celsius in Gurugram,” said Srivastava.
He said that while the minimum temperature had stayed in a similar range over the past two days, the maximum temperature had fallen by a degree or two. “Due to a cloud cover, the maximum temperature might fall marginally on Thursday. The minimum temperature will stay in a similar range,” said Srivastava. He said that the temperature would again dip from November 28-29 once the western disturbance passes.
As per the IMD’s weekly forecast, the maximum temperature will hover around 24 degrees Celsius while the minimum temperature is expected to stay at 13 degrees. As per the weekly forecast, clear skies will prevail on Thursday.