Air pollution is one of the most dangerous crises which Delhi has been facing for past several years and this year was no different. However, things are not that gloomier as they appear if we go by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) analysis. The analysis shows the national capital has seen more good, satisfactory and moderate air quality days till November 28 this year as compared to last year. The analysis also brings out the data showing that there were no ‘good’ air quality days in 2016, but Delhi saw two ‘good’ air quality days in July this year. The number of ‘satisfactory’ air quality days went up from 24 in 2016 to 45 in 2017. Similarly, the number of ‘moderate’ air quality days went from 85 last year to 104 this year. The biggest drop has been seen in the number of ‘severe’ air quality days.
In 2016, January alone had six ‘severe’ air quality days. There were none in January 2017. In November last year, there were 10 ‘severe’ air quality days. Despite the heavy smog, the city has seen seven ‘severe’ air quality days so far. “This year, there have been fewer episodes where the wind speed was very low. One major such episode was seen in the first week of November and it resulted in thick smog. Delhi has been more fortunate this year than last,” said a DPCC scientist. According to SAFAR, however, the next two days could see a drop in air quality.
Earlier on November 27, due to constantly dipping air quality in the city, the Delhi government had issued a health advisory to the public. The government said the polluted air was taking a heavy toll on the health of the people and the national capital had been witnessing smoggy mornings due to high moisture content, particulate matter, pollution and lack of wind. “It is a man–made situation… common sources could be direct result of the burning of agricultural residue in neighbouring states, industrial pollution, construction work, bursting of firecrackers, household combustion devices, burning of wood, coal, etc,” it added. As per the data by the Central Pollution Control Board, it has registered the day’s air quality index (AQI) at 362, 10 units more than on Sunday, on a scale of 500. The AQI takes into account levels of suspended particulate matter and gases like nitrogen dioxide. An AQI between 301-400 is classified as ‘very poor’, which can trigger respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.