This comes as a sigh of relief to Delhiites after Central Pollution Control Board data showed the capital’s pollution level push from poor to moderate. The best part is for the first time since 2015, the capital saw its first December day with moderate air quality. The Air Quality Index on Thursday read 194 at 4 pm, putting the air in the ‘moderate’ range. It was 282 on Wednesday, which falls in the ‘poor’ category. From November 23 to December 5, the air quality in the city had remained ‘very poor’, with toxic smog disrupting normal life and even the India-Sri Lanka Test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. However, it had shown a marked improvement yesterday from Tuesday’s index of 378.
Dipankar Saha, head of the air quality laboratory at CPCB said that ground level activities have taken care of air pollutants in Delhi-NCR. “Meteorology and our ground level activities have taken care of air pollutants in Delhi-NCR and surrounding areas. As a result, we had moderate AQI for the first time in December since 2015.The weather conditions mean a clear sky and higher vertical area for dispersion of pollutants. Better wind speed also means horizontal dispersion of pollutants. We are expecting moderate AQI for next few days,” he said. As the wind speed and the temperatures are low, December and January are the most polluted months of the year in the north. Both factors promote the accumulation of pollutants. Since these are the driest months, there is no way that the pollutants can be washed away.
The smog in Delhi had even cast a shadow on the India-Sri Lanka Test match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, with captain Dinesh Chandimal and his team wearing N95 anti-pollution masks to combat pollution on Day two. The match ended in a draw yesterday with Chandimal admitting that it was tough playing under pollution. Some of the Sri Lankan players had fallen sick. Dipankar Saha, Air Lab Chief of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), had yesterday said, “Air quality is improving every hour and we hope it will continue to improve.” “Now the wind is blowing very easily from north to south with a speed of 4.5 m/s, which has resulted in dispersion of pollutants, leading to improvement in the air quality after a long pause,” he had said.