The improvement in the air quality turned out to be short-lived as Delhi-NCR started inhaling toxins again with virtually no winds and cases of stubble burning in the national capital itself on Sunday. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi saw a considerable drop in the air quality, with Air Quality Index (AQI), recorded at 4 p.m on Sunday, reporting 377 or “very poor”, against 305 “very poor” on Saturday and 217 or “poor” on Friday. The AQI at Ghaziabad (448) and Noida (415) were back to severe after two days of a breather on Saturday and Friday. The level of major pollutant PM2.5, or particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, across Delhi-NCR at 6 p.m. was 241, while in Delhi alone, it was 237 units — about nine times the safe limit as per international standards. The air quality was placed “severe plus” at Anand Vihar (PM2.5 at 389) in east Delhi; Delhi Technical University (PM2.5 at 332) in north Delhi; Sector 125, Noida (304) and Vasundhara in Ghaziabad (367).
Meanwhile, at R.K Puram in south Delhi, the air quality was severe with PM2.5 at 6 p.m. recorded at 271. The safe limit for PM2.5 according to the international standard is 25 microgrammes per cubic metre and 60 by national standards. Meanwhile, the satellite images from NASA showed spordic incidents of stubble burning in regions in Delhi itself as well as regions across Punjab, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi saw no winds on Sunday, a possible reason for sudden increase in the pollutants. “There had been no wind in Delhi as observed during 2.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. on Sunday. The previous wind direction was southerly which is moist in nature, however at present with no winds. direction could not be assessed,” an IMD official told IANS.