Delhi air quality worsens, several areas record ‘severe’ pollution

By: |
October 23, 2020 8:03 PM

The air quality index (AQI) for Delhi is in the 'very poor' category. The AQI on Friday was recorded at 374 in the morning and 366 by the evening as compared to 302 on the previous day.

A ventilation index lower than 6,000 sqm/second, with the average wind speed less than 10 kmph, is unfavourable for dispersal of pollutants.

Delhi’s air quality worsened on Friday with several areas in the national capital recording ‘severe’ levels of pollution, according to authorities.
Government agencies forecast that air quality will deteriorate further in the coming two days.

The air quality index (AQI) for Delhi is in the ‘very poor’ category. The AQI on Friday was recorded at 374 in the morning and 366 by the evening as compared to 302 on the previous day.

Ten monitoring stations in Delhi entered the ‘severe’ zone, according to the AQI monitoring mobile application SAMEER, developed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

These include Alipur with AQI of 447, Shadipur with 441, Mundka with AQI of 419, Wazirpur with 432, Anand Vihar with 405, Bawana with 413, Vivek Vihar with 422, Rohini 401, Jahangirpuri with AQI of 418 and Patparganj with 405.

According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ air quality monitor System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), a significant increase in stubble fire count was observed around Haryana, Punjab, and neighbouring regions which stood at 1,213 on Thursday.

“However, as the boundary layer wind direction is not fully favourable for pollutant transport towards the Delhi region, the SAFAR model estimate of stubble burning share in PM 2.5 is 17 per cent for today,” it said.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

According to SAFAR, extremely calm surface wind conditions prevail over the Delhi region and are forecast to continue for two days.

“This will lead to low ventilation conditions for an extended period and accumulation of pollutants near the surface. Further deterioration of AQI is expected for the two days,” it said.

“It is forecast that the air quality will be in the higher end of ‘very poor’ category on 24th and 25th October and may touch the ‘severe’ category,” SAFAR said.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the air quality will deteriorate further with pollutants PM 10 (presence of particles with diameter less than 10 micrometres) and PM 2.5 increasing.

PM 2.5 are tiny particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter and can enter deep into the lungs and even the bloodstream.

The stubble fire count for Wednesday was 1,428.

The 24-hour average Delhi’s AQI was recorded at 256 on Wednesday, 223 on Tuesday and 244 the day before.

The figures are based on data collected from 34 monitoring stations in the city.

The Delhi government has kick-started its ‘Red Light On, Gaadi Off’ anti-pollution campaign for which it has deployed 2,500 environment marshals at 100 traffic signals across the city to generate awareness and curb vehicular pollution.

The drive will be implemented in all 70 assembly constituencies from October 26 and will go on till November 15 from 8 am to 8 pm.

It is an awareness drive by the Delhi government and no person will be issued challans, the government has said.

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