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Monday, Dec 09, 2019

Delhi’s air quality remains in ‘severe’ zone, respite likely tomorrow

The government’s pollution monitoring agencies had forecast that the air quality will improve on Friday with wind speed picking up pace. However, they had also said that significant improvement in the air quality is expected only on November 16.

delhi Updated: Nov 15, 2019 08:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Smog engulfs Lodhi Gardens as Delhi’s air quality continued to be in ‘severe’ category on the morning of November 15, 2019.
Smog engulfs Lodhi Gardens as Delhi’s air quality continued to be in ‘severe’ category on the morning of November 15, 2019.(ANI / Twitter )
         

Air quality in the national capital of Delhi plunged a few notches further in the ‘severe’ zone on Friday morning as schools in the Capital and NCR remained shut for the second day.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality index (AQI) was 465 at 6.30am. This was against the overall AQI reading of 463 on Thursday.

The Delhi government and pollution monitoring agencies will review the situation on Friday.

The government’s pollution monitoring agencies had forecast that the air quality will improve on Friday with wind speed picking up pace. However, they had also said that significant improvement in the air quality is expected only on November 16.

Scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that weather had a key role to play in increasing pollution levels in the capital over the last three days when air quality remained in the ‘severe’ zone.

“Low wind speed, diffused sunlight and northwesterly winds carrying stubble burning residue from Punjab and Haryana combined have been pushing up pollution levels. However, wind speed is likely to pick up to 12-15 kmph today, which will help in dispersion,” said a senior IMD scientist.

“Since the accumulation of pollutants is high, dispersion will take time and any significant improvement in air quality is expected over the weekend. The wind speed is likely to go up to 25 kmph on Saturday,” the scientist said.

Friday is also the last day of the Odd-Even drive in Delhi and Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot has said that a decision on extending the road space rationing drive will be taken later in the day.

“However, we have received a number of requests and appeals to extend the drive as air quality is still in the severe category,” Gahlot had said on Thursday.

The minister said a final call on whether the road rationing drive should be extended would be taken only on Friday, based on the air pollution levels.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said on Wednesday that his government was ready to extend the odd-even drive if pollution levels in the national capital continued to spike.